Free Schools

Free schools were a new initiative from the conservative government.  There are currently 79 primary and secondary free schools operating in England,  and a further 114 have been approved to open in September 2013.

free schools

These new schools are academies, which are publicly funded independent schools, free from local authority control. They enjoy the same freedoms as academies, which include setting their own pay and conditions for staff, freedom from following the National Curriculum and the ability to change the lengths of their terms and school days. All free schools will be accountable like other state schools via inspections and tests.

Many of the current free schools are of a religious denomination.

The largest concentration of proposed free schools is in London and the South East.

Critics feel that the new free schools will undermine existing schools, by siphoning off funding, and pupils with pro-active, supportive parents.

Free schools:

  •  can be set up in existing premises, such as commercial or residential buildings.
  •  are set up on a tight budget, with regard to premises.
  • are be bound by regulations that ensure minimum facility requirements.
  • are subject to national admissions’ regulations.
  • can only be given the go ahead, if there is proven parental demand.
  • can be set up by groups such as charities, religious organisations, parents, teachers.
  • are intended to have a unique ‘ethos’ as their ‘USP’ .

Further Information

The DfE website


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