Aspiring Billy Elliots in London may soon have a school of their own, says the BBC. To be called the “Class Free School,” the school for boys 11 to 16 hopes to open in London in September 2013.School reform is moving quickly in the UK. Under proposals from the coalition government, teachers, principals, community groups and parents can apply to open the British equivalent of charter schools: free schools with a distinct mission and approach. People with ideas for new schools are invited to apply, and the Class Free School for Billy Elliot wannabes is one of the applications in contention.
The Class application is led by Tim Stirrup, a former inner London maths teacher, whose interest in dance education stems from the experiences of his son, now a pupil at a vocational boarding school for young dancers.
This may or may not be a good idea; Via Meadia is not in close touch with the 11-16 male dancing demographic and we have no idea what kind of school suits them best. But this kind of creativity and innovation is what we need more of on this side of the water. We hope the day is not too far off when American education escapes from the big box, one size fits all model that dominated most public educational systems in the 20th century.When parents are free to choose the right school for their kids, and teachers are free to organize schools and teaching programs that can compete to attract parents and students, we will be well on the way to the kind of education reforms we so desperately need.