• New free schools planned despite funding crisis

    960 640 Stuart O'Brien

    The Department of Education has signed off the creation of 131 new Free Schools in England, while 20 local authorities have been given permission to open special needs schools using the same framework.

    The DfE says the plans will provide nearly 70,000 extra places for pupils across primary, secondary and special needs levels of education.

    Education Secretary Justine Greening said in a statement that the planned schools would “give parents more choices”.

    In terms of regions, the South East of England is the largest beneficiary, with 15,000 places set to be made available across 27 new schools, followed by London with 10,000 places (18 schools) and the West Midlands with 9,000 places (12 schools).

    The openings are all part of a scheme unveiled by Michael Gove back in 2010, which has contributed to there being 800 free schools either open or in a ‘pre-opening’ phase as of April this year.

    The free school scheme now accounts for all new state schools and can be run by academy trusts, parents or community organisations.

    The latest free schools announcement has drawn criticism from some quarters, however, with Labour call the plans “expensive and inefficient” against a background education budget cuts.

    Indeed, the National Audit Office questioned the costs to build free schools and the associated purchasing of land, estimating that the scheme would cost £9.7 billion by 2021.


    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.