I was at the Spectator conference about education today. There are two things which have caused the spread of charter schools to be so disappointingly slow:
1. Profit-making companies are not allowed to set them up.
2. Local authorities can refuse them planning permission and slow things down.
Therefore two things need to be changed.
1. Profit making companies should be allowed to set up free schools (as in Sweden)
2. Local authorities should be legally obliged to grant them planning permission as long as certain minimum requirements are met (as in Sweden). They should also be required to do the processing within defined time limits.
Why are these obvious and desirable reforms not taking place? A person there who knows the scene told me that these are the obstacles:
1. Nick Clegg (against for-profit, even though it would be in the interests of children)
2. Eric Pickles (apparently against restricting freedom of local authorities to obstruct despite knowing that they have a vested interest in opposing free schools).