Latest Public Sector News

03.09.12

55 new free schools to open

The second wave of free schools, consisting of 55 new institutions, are opening this month. Education secretary Michael Gove expressed his hopes for their success, despite recent criticism over investment into certain free schools which have had their development cancelled.

Free schools can be set up by groups of teachers, parents, charities, businesses, universities, trusts, and religious or voluntary groups.

They are funded directly by central government and are not under local authority control. This means heads have more control over the curriculum, term dates and teachers’ pay.

The first 24 schools were opened last September and a further 114 have been approved to open next year.

Gove said: “Every child should have the choice to go to an excellent local school. These new schools have been set up by idealistic people who are determined to give parents the kind of choice that only the rich can currently afford.

“The first 24 free schools are enormously popular and I expect this second wave to be equally successful.”

But Labour said there needed to be greater transparency over the cost of the programme, with figures suggesting at least £2.3m had been spent on three projects alone, two of which were abandoned and one of which is half empty.

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