March 23, 2008


If Cameron isn't careful, Brown will outflank him on education reform (Fraser Nelson, 3/23/08, The Spectator)

The Spectator recently ran a letter from Lord Adonis saying the Swedish schools revolution which I said David Cameron would bring to Britain was in fact being delivered under Labour. Huh, I thought, keep telling yourself that - if it makes this whole Brown thing better for you. But today I picked up my local newspaper to find a striking splash: two City Academies run by Kunskapsskolan, the Swedish company I interviewed for my cover piece, are coming to my borough.

Things move quickly. Just last month Per Ledin, the head of Kunskapsskolan, was in his office asking me: “City Academies? What kind of a beast are those?” Now he’s saying “I’ll take two, please”. Under the new Brown system, the “sponsor” doesn’t have to stump up the £2m cash so it’s an easily-arranged, basic management contract. Weirdly, Labour doesn’t mind companies making a profit from managing schools – just as long as someone else is making a loss from owning them. Kunskapsskolan is putting its toe in the market.

So if Cameron ever gets around to selling what I regard as the best policy he has (he remains unconvinced there is much political capital in it), then Labour has a ready response. Swedish schools, mate? Catch up. We’re already there. It wouldn’t surprise me if as Cameron umms and aahs, Labour starts to use this schools policy as an election weapon.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 23, 2008 6:58 PM
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