The Labour MP and former Aviation Minister, Karen Buck, has withdrawn her 13-year-old son in disgust from one of the Government's "flagship" City Academies (one, moreover, of which her husband is a governor).
Meanwhile, only yesterday, the Government announced that "Gifted and Talented" pupils would be able to buy "e-credits" for extra lessons in such things as Mandarin, and a programme run by NASA. Furthermore, since fully one third of schools have simply ignored the "Gifted and Talented" programme up to now, they are all now to be required to identify for this purpose the top ten per cent of their pupils in academic terms, a total of around 800,000 in the country as a whole.
So how about this for a wheeze? Each primary school's top ten (or, better, twenty or twenty-five) per cent of pupils, thus identified, might be admitted to a whole secondary school for children like them, where such lessons were an integral part of the curriculum, so that there was no need for "e-credits".
Heaven knows what we might call such an institution, but there are two reasons why none such will ever be set up. First, a national network of such schools would put most fee-paying schools out of business within ten years, and a lot of them well before that. And secondly, no such system could operate without powerful Local Education Authorities.
Opponents of fee-paying schools, and supporters of LEAs, think on.