Free schools cost Government £60m, Department for Education reveals

The Government has spent almost £60 million supporting its flagship free schools programme since it began, figures have revealed. This is from the Huffington Post…

Almost £40 million of public funding has been handed to 72 free schools to help them in their first year of operation. This is in addition to money the schools would receive to teach pupils.

And nearly £20 million was spent on costs incurred by schools before they opened.

The funding does not include capital to cover the costs of buying a site and refurbishing buildings, or money that will have been handed to free schools that are due to open this autumn or beyond.

The figures were published by the Department for Education (DfE) today, following a Freedom of Information request.

The first 24 free schools opened in 2011 followed by a further 55 last year.

The new figures show that 76 free schools were given £19.6 million in total before they started teaching pupils to cover the costs of “everything they will need to buy up to the point at which the school opens”.

Some 72 schools received a share of £39.6 million in their first year of operation, in addition to their per-pupil funding. This money is intended to “enable schools to cover essential initial costs such as buying books and equipment”, according to the DfE.

It added that the money would also meet the costs arising as the school built up its pupil numbers – many open with just one or two year groups of students – as they would otherwise initially be unable to meet the full cost of employing a headteacher and other senior staff.

The department said that the funding is essential to meet the additional costs of starting a new school, and that similar financial support had been given to new academies.

More at: Free Schools Cost UK Government £60m, Department For Education Reveals

Thoughts on these numbers? What’s the bigger picture – how do they compare with new schools that aren’t free schools? Please tell us what you think in the comments or via Twitter…

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  1. TWAHW

    SchoolsImprove It would cost a lot more if those of us trying to set them up were being paid for our time!

  2. DaveHarrisITE

    SchoolsImprove and how many are outstanding? We know they fail and require improvement. Some are ‘good’ in OFSTED terms, but come on, £60m?

  3. changepatriot

    SchoolsImprove Mr Gove must justify all his reform funding . Why the ring fence with such extravagance? No opposition from Mr Twigg?

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