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…
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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