Cameron launches next wave of free schools as part of pledge for 500 more

The BBC is reporting that David Cameron is announcing the latest wave of free schools in England, as a step towards his manifesto pledge of 500 more over the next five years.

The prime minister is launching a further 18 of the state-funded schools, set up by academy trusts, community groups, parents and teachers…

The announcement will add to the 252 free schools already open and a further 52 set to open this term, out of a total of about 22,000 schools in the state sector.

The Department for Education says the new projects include a school in Solihull for children who have fallen out of mainstream education and the Gipsy Hill Secondary School in south London, which will use a classical model based on “logic, grammar and rhetoric as the foundations of learning”.

The Swan School will open in Oxford and the John Donne Primary Free School in Peckham, both supported by local state schools.

“The aim of this policy is crystal clear – to increase the number of good and outstanding school places so that more parents have the security of knowing their child is getting a great education,” said Mr Cameron.

The prime minister said he would “not waver in pressing ahead with our plans” to reach the target of an extra 500 free schools.

But NUT leader Christine Blower accused the government of “untruths and misrepresentations” about its free-school policy, saying there was no evidence that they were better than other schools.

Ms Blower said the government had had to change the regulations so that all new schools would be designated as free schools to “help David Cameron hit his own target”…

Labour’s education spokesman Tristram Hunt said the focus on free schools was missing the bigger problem of a teacher recruitment crisis…

More at: Cameron launches wave of free schools


Just to pick up on Christine Blower’s point, if all new academies are now free schools (and therefore, effectively, all new schools are free schools) what does the academy label still mean?

Is there any difference now between an academy and a free school (whether new or existing) or do we have two labels for what is effectively one class of school – i.e. a state school run outside of local authority control?

Any clarification gratefully received!


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Categories: Academies, Free Schools and Policy.


  1. teachingrhythm

    SchoolsImprove because Free schools has been really successful at providing gods and outstanding teaching. #IDon’tThinkSo

  2. Bedtonman

    SchoolsImprove I believe Free Schools are more likely to fail Ofsted than Local Authority schools how does that fit with raising standards?

  3. pompeyanne

    SchoolsImprove what I don’t understand is why don’t they just get rid of local authorities all together and let it all go to consultants??

  4. Free school are academies – once open there is no difference between the two. They have the same type of funding agreement and are funded in the same way as an academy or local maintained school.

  5. Nairb1

    Given that the government has changed the rules so that all new local authority schools must be free schools it’s achieving a policy commitment by sleight of hand. And, of course, continuing blatant misuse of statistics. Interesting that the new schools network, a mouthpiece for government policy, notes on its website that less than 2% of free schools are rated as inadequate, compared with over 100 LA schools which have been in special measures for over a year. 100 LA schools, of course, is considerably less than 2%, actually considerably less than 1%.

  6. Nairb1

    There’s one sure-fire way of keeping down the proportion of free schools deemed to be failing. Close them. Discovery Free School was judged to be inadequate. The government withdrew the funding and closed the school. It was immediately removed from the list, and therefore the statistics, of inadequate free schools.
    A few months ago the SoS said that she would take more decisive action in the case of failing free schools than LAs take when they are faced with a failing LA school. I wrote to her and asked what she meant. She quoted the example of Al Madinah in Derby. The ‘decisive action’ was to close the school. I wrote again asking if the SoS was intending to allow LAs to close their failing schools and walk away, claiming it was ‘decisive action.’ I didn’t get a reply.

  7. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove Why hack-off so many for so few? Cameron has such potential but chooses to believe the party crazies…

  8. @TW There is no ‘control’ as the Gov’t well knows.  LAs have not been under LA ‘control’ since Local Management of Schools was introduced over 25 years ago, if they ever were.  Academies in chains are under far more control from their academy trust than LA schools are.

  9. MikesuziNZ

    SchoolsImprove Making a schl free or an academy doesn’t make it good or outstanding.Now good can mean “coasting” which means not good enoug

  10. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Not only are there not enough teachers to staff these follies but there is no proof that school type improves provision

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