"It's fantastic to see the Government throw its weight behind the life changing work of free schools at the Conservative Party Conference today. The panel of free school leaders displayed the diversity and success of free schools across the country, which are transforming life chances for children.
Free School News
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27th September 2019
I read with interest the letter from Michael Rosen to the Secretary of State on Tuesday 24th September.
Mr. Rosen is quite right that we cannot ignore children struggling to thrive in mainstream education. Fundamentally, however, his attitude towards alternative provision (AP) free schools which are very much part of the solution, not the cause, is misguided.
"I am delighted that free schools continue to set primary pupils on the right path to achieving their full potential. For the fifth year in a row, free schools are the top performing school type of school at Key Stage 1 assessment and phonics checks.
"This follows on from successful results days at GCSE and A Level, where free schools were among the highest performing schools in the country.
"This vital research by the Sutton Trust has highlighted once more unnecessary inequality in our education system. It is not acceptable for disadvantaged children to fall behind because their parents cannot afford private tuition. In school education should not require supplementary tuition for pupils whose parents can pay when most cannot. Inequality in private tuition is one factor in the challenge to close the attainment gap. But this means we need to focus even more on high-quality education in schools.
"It is disappointing to see the Labour Party continue to reject the achievements of free schools. The evidence of their successes is undeniable; they are the highest performing type of state school at Key Stages One, Four and Five and are more likely to be rated Outstanding. Free schools champion social justice, with pupils who receive free school meals performing better than any other type of school and in a number of cases, disadvantaged children are outperforming their peers at Progress 8."
Basic need and standards
As in wave 13, applicants are required to demonstrate that there is basic need for a high number of school places that the new free school will provide. The Department for Education (DfE) has added that basic need should be demonstrated for at least half the capacity of the proposed school.
“Year after year, finding a suitable site continues to be the single biggest issue for free schools. From a survey conducted by New Schools Network, 70% of open and pre-open free schools identified finding a site as the biggest challenge. Too often, local authorities are dragging their feet when it comes to releasing land for much-needed new schools that will benefit local families. If councils continue to obstruct and delay, the Government should step in and legislate to compel local authorities to release what is already publicly-owned land to new free school groups.