Latest Public Sector News

16.04.12

Free schools without secure sites

Half of free schools have not yet secured a site for construction, despite being approved to open in 2012, it has emerged.

Schools minister Nick Gibb admitted that only 35 of 79 free schools have found premises in his answer to a parliamentary question from Labour’s Stephen Twigg.

The Government said that negotiations for free school sites are progressing for the vast majority of those approved, yet the charity that works to help set up free schools, New Schools Network, suggested that finding a site is often the most challenging aspect of setting up.

New Schools Network chief operating officer Natalie Evans told the Times Educational Supplement: “This is something the Government really needs to think about. Finding premises is extremely difficult, and is one of the biggest frustrations and a real headache for groups.”

Twigg said: “With half of [the Government’s] favoured free schools without a site for their opening in September, parents will be concerned that the Government’s approach to new schools is too much of a gamble.

“The Government’s approach to school buildings is chaotic.”

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