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Civitas throws down gauntlet; establishes new school model

Civitas has challenged the government by asserting it can school children better for less. The think-tank writes that the New Model School, "aims to provide rigorous and effective teaching at a low cost in order to bring independent schooling within the means of more parents. . .The purpose is to ensure the development of the whole child – creative, ethical and social, as well as intellectual." The goal now is not just to set up a single successful school, which Civitas has done in West London at Maple Walk primary school, "but to provide a replicable model of excellent and affordable schools".

Civitas is well-informed. It is a think-tank that studies problems, and it knows history. In 19th century Britain, most schools were private. They were not funded or run by the government, and their success rate in teaching almost every young man and woman in the United Kingdom to read and write was over 90%. The schools were free of expensive bureaucracy, of course. Parents, who paid for tuition, were unenthusiastic about throwing their money away, and probably encouraged their children to learn. (James Bartholomew has the fascinating details in The Welfare State We're In.)

Civitas schools will have these advantages. They will face real modern challenges. There is quite a lot riding on their success.