By Daniel Boffey, The Observer
Saturday 21 January 2012
Katharine Birbalsingh, the teacher described as a Tory darling for her attacks on state education standards, is at the centre of a dispute over her plans to open a free secondary school with a “private ethos” in an area of south London desperately in need of primary schools.
Birbalsingh has been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money by parents and teachers in Tooting, Wandsworth, the proposed site of the Michaela community school, where Mandarin and Latin will be on the curriculum.
The new secondary school will take money away from the local authority if it attracts pupils from schools under the latter’s control. And critics say because the department for education has earmarked half of the £1.2bn it has allocated to school building on free schools, it does not have enough money to tackle the national crisis in primary schools.
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