Free schools not delivered on any of the promises

The first independent report on free schools shows that, despite ministerial claims, the free school programme is proving an expensive experiment which has not delivered on any of the promises, says the National Education Union (NEU).

Commenting on the Education Policy Institute’s report, Free Schools in England, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The rationale for free schools is flawed. Free schools have created surplus school places in areas where they aren’t needed, which isn’t a good use of tax payers’ money, particularly in the middle of a school funding crisis.

“Ministerial claims that free schools perform better cannot be justified, because too few free school have been inspected and inspections have not included the full pupil age range.

“Free schools in disadvantaged areas fail to take their fair share of poor pupils. And, when first established, they are not popular with parents, with first preferences well behind other types of school.

“Theresa May should read this report carefully and reconsider her pledge to establish another 500 free schools. It would be a far better use of public money to rebuild and refurbish existing schools, many of which are in dire need of repair, as these schools have taken the lion’s share of the increased numbers of pupils, and will continue to do so.”


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Press release
16 November 2017