Tim Knox is Director of the Centre for Policy Studies
Imagine you are a parent in one of the more deprived areas of Oldham. You might think that a decent education is the best way for your children to do well in their lives. You might know that all of the local schools are pretty bad. You might know that only about 1% of children around you reach EBacc standards, the minimum level necessary to get to a good university.
Depressing stuff. But then you hear about a charismatic Muslim British army officer who is planning to set up a brand new Free School; a school where the head of studies is a former Tornado pilot who has also been Head of Science at three independent schools. A school where all teachers will have served at a senior rank in the British Armed Services. A school where one of the founders has been described by Michael Gove as the man “who has done more than anyone living in the fight against illiteracy in this country”.