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Who are we?

Nevil Chiles:

Nevil Chiles was born in Birmingham in 1970. He attended Haybridge High School in Hagley in the West Midlands, successfully completing 11 'O' Levels and 4 'A' Levels before leaving school in 1988.

After a year in Australia Nevil attended King's College, London where he read History, graduating in 1992. In the mid 1990s Nevil worked and travelled extensively throughout South East Asia and Australia before becoming involved in education. Nevil worked as a private GCSE tutor to an influential family in Manila in the Philippines before returning to London to take up a full time post in the GCSE Department at Collingham School, Kensington in 1997.

At Collingham Nevil taught History and English at both GCSE and A Level. In 2002 Nevil left Collingham to set up Kensington & Chelsea Tutors Limited.

Dr. Anna Clark:

Anna Clark was born in Stourbridge in 1972. After leaving Mander Portman Woodward (MPW) in Birmingham in 1991 with 4 'A' Levels she went on to the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine to study Medicine. She qualified as a doctor in 1999 and became a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 2001. Despite her involvement in Kensington & Chelsea Tutors she continues to work as a GP.

Free Schools? Grammar Schools? More Schools but less funding?

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In his Budget on Wednesday, Philip Hammond will announce that extra money is to be pledged for new free schools and grammar schools in England.

The Chancellor will confirm a one-off payment of £320m for 140 new free schools in addition to the 500 already pledged to be created by 2020.

Now, I’m not an economist, but how does that work? My children are at state schools; two in primary, one at secondary. Both schools are clearly battling budget cuts; there are constant fundraisers to bridge the widening gap. All this against a background of increasing costs.

So existing schools’ coffers are empty, but the government has found £320 million behind the Westminster sofa to fund new schools?

This is simply madness. The system needs to be improved and simplified; not made ever more complicated. State education is being hung out to dry. Free schools are independent of local authorities. They are exempt from teaching the national curriculum and have increased control over teachers' pay and conditions as well as the length of school terms and days. How can we standardise if there is no standard?

Free schools are run by private enterprise but are not allowed to make a ‘profit’. Perhaps the money left over each year could be paid as salary to a company executive overseeing his educational empire? Just a thought – nothing left to write in as profit then. No doubt some free schools are success stories, but they are in a position to make money; education need not be their driver.

Grammar schools are selective. There is no problem with that; children’s academic abilities are diverse. The issue is that if the current system was improved and simplified there would be no need to recreate an elitist subsector.