The Collective Futures Free School in Hackney, which will open its doors in September, is set to enable smug-faced, over-paid Guardian reading professionals to send their children to the kind of schools they themselves went to without having to feel guilty about it.
Wealthy lefties living in inner-city areas have long faced an overwhelming quandary, as Becca Hobbs, freelance travel journalist and mum, explains. ‘People kept asking me, ‘why don’t you just send Otto and Jerry to a private school?’ But I would never do that. It just totally isn't me. I buy my haemorrhoid cream from an organic women’s co-operative in Palestine. I've been to fucking Tibet. I can’t send my kids to private school. The trouble is that the local comp is full of ridiculously poor children. Don’t get me wrong, I like poor people. They’re great. It’s just that the ones round here take it a bit too far. Well, much too far, actually.’
Becca goes on, ‘Basically, we realised that we had a choice: move to Kent, or set up our own school. You don’t get pop-up galleries or Eritrean film festivals in Kent. It was a no-brainer.’
Becca asked around and found a large number of parents in her local community who were facing the same dilemma. After a series of meetings they came together, agreeing to found the Collective Futures Free School.
At present, free schools are forbidden from actively selecting students on the basis of parental income. This would mean that, in theory, poor children would be able to attend the school. However, Becca is confident that Collective Futures has found a fail-safe way round this: the school will be registered as a special school. ‘We realised that, actually, our children all share a specific Special Educational Need.’ explains Becca, ‘That is, they are Gifted and Talented. When he was four, Otto asked me to stop reading him excerpts from Polly Toynbee’s columns because he found the syntax somewhat jarring. You can’t expect kids like him to be educated alongside normal children. It would be absurd.’
The governing body invites applications from anyone who can prove that their child is Gifted and Talented. To be deemed Gifted and Talented, children will need to demonstrate exceptional intelligence, ability or a particularly precocious grasp of how to use systems to accumulate wealth and power.
More information and application forms are available at the Collective Futures website www.twatsinbrightlycolouredchinos.com
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