An article by Peter Wilby in yesterday's Education Guardian (Brand New World:http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/may/25/free-schools-private-companies) predicts that " 'free schools' started by parents, teachers and voluntary groups...will (eventually) be run by private companies...(which)...talk eagerly of economies of scale if they can take charge of dozens, even hundreds (of schools)."
Aren't these "economies of scale" in managing salaries and appointments procedures, organising contracts for buildings, furniture, stationery and text-books, allocating budgets, etc exactly what Local Education Authorities used to do? The "free school" project is therefore merely privatisation under another name, with no evidence that the private sector can improve on the services of the now maligned public authorities.
Sadly, as today heads of both primary and secondary schools receive letters asking them to consider becoming "free", senior staff of all schools will be distracted from their real purpose of educating the young in order to concentrate their attention on debating the illusion of a brighter future (and the prospect of higher salaries?) under a new regime dominated by commercial considerations rather than the public good.