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free schools – diversity in action?

28 August 2013

Back in 2006, the Education & Inspections Act placed a duty on local authorities to increase choice and diversity in their area. That duty may, to a degree, be satisfied by the free schools programme and the increased choice of schools available as a result. Clear evidence of this is the new Greek Orthodox Secondary School which will open next week in North London. The school will take half its pupils from the Greek Orthodox community in that area and the provision will be heavily influenced by the ethos of the Greek Orthodox church.

Whilst increasing diversity is a good thing, critics continue to argue that the policy may meet the needs of the few whereas the majority of parents just want a good local school for their children. Only time will tell if the free school programme does raise standards for all and not just increase diversity and therefore meet the programme’s original aims.

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