The education secretary has given his clearest indication yet that a future Conservative government could take the radical step of letting state schools educate children rather than be solely run for profit.
Giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking, Michael Gove was asked whether he hoped free schools would be able to provide education as well as make large profits in a Tory second term. He replied:
It’s my belief that in the future we could move to a situation where some children may learn something in schools but at the moment it’s important to recognise that free schools are succeeding in paying huge amounts of money to the people who run them without any element of an effective education system in place so I think we should only cross that bridge when we come to it.
Alluding to tensions in the coalition over the issue, Gove said:
There are some of my colleagues in the coalition who are very sceptical of the benefits of education. I have an open mind.
Previously he has said that while he is a “pragmatist” on the question of allowing children to be taught things in schools, it was not necessary at present.
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