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Expanding free schools

24 May 2013

The DfE has announced a further 102 free schools will open from 2014, offering 50,000 further places.

Interestingly 70 of the 102 are supported by teachers, schools or education organisations when the DfE considered parents would be the main supporters. Is the programme being used to meet demand or are teachers becoming more involved with the free school programme than previously thought?

The answer’s unclear but teachers may become enthused due to the greater autonomy for teaching in free schools. One of the 102 will offer 'cross-subject projects' rather than traditional classroom learning, requiring teachers to teach a topic engaging different disciplines eg investigating wildlife from a mathematical, scientific and geographical perspective. Such autonomy goes to the heart of the free schools project.

Whilst the response from prospective parents has been positive there will be criticism of this unorthodox way of learning, which has its roots in the USA.

This is another chapter in the controversial free schools project debate: expect more to come.

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