Headlines: September 4th, 2009

Parents want private school style facilities for their state-educated children according to research published today. The independent education foundation, Edge, says that while the government has pledged billions of pounds to improving schooling, parents want facilities that bring down the barriers between private and public school.

The research is being released as Edge launches two new Academies and details parents’ visions. Almost two thirds want schools to have kitchens for teaching, almost as many want to see computers in every classroom while just under half would like to see a swimming pool. A quarter of parents would like schools to have a theatre while almost one in five want a recording studio.

Beyond those facilities, more than three-quarters of respondents believed every new school should have specialist resource for vocational subjects. Asked what should be included in Government initiatives, two thirds backed better links with employers and the community, 59 per cent more practical courses and 52 per cent more work experience.

Today’s research shows 57 per cent of parents support the programme to rebuild or renew virtually every secondary school in England. Andy Powell, the chief executive of Edge said: “Parents quite rightly want the best learning environment for their children and that includes facilities that in the past have only been available in the country’s private schools. If designed and managed correctly, with a clear vision and with dedicated staff and sponsors, new build academies offer an opportunity to give pupils the type of learning they need using the right facilities.”

Edge is sponsoring two new Academies, at Bulwell in Nottingham and at Milton Keynes, which open next week. They say that as well as having state of the art facilities including business hubs, the schools will offer practical learning built into the curriculum with students following some form of vocational course at 14.