Free schools are a good example of a recent educational policy:
What are free schools?
Free schools are funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council. They have more control over how they do things.
They’re ‘all-ability’ schools, so can’t use academic selection processes like a grammar school.
Free schools can:
- set their own pay and conditions for staff
- change the length of school terms and the school day
They don’t have to follow the national curriculum.
Who can set them up?
Free schools are run on a not-for-profit basis and can be set up by groups like:
- independent schools
- community and faith groups
Why were they set up?
- greater choice for parents
- it is hoped that the schools will reflect the needs of a modern day student
- greater flexibility in learning
- increases competition and drives up standards
Why are they criticised?
A recent Public Accounts report has stated:
“While the department is spending significant funds in creating 500 more free schools, even in areas with no shortage of places, existing schools struggle to live within their budgets and carry out routine maintenance,” .
- they are being built in areas where they are not needed
- they are costing much more than previously estimated
- current schools need lots of funding but free schools are taking away this money