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Free schools make the grade

1 August 2013

The first wave of 24 free schools, which opened in 2011, have now all been inspected under the new Ofsted framework. Of the 24, 18 were rated either good or outstanding (75%), 5 require improvement and 1 was rated inadequate. The breakdown in categories is roughly in line with other state schools.

Critics have commented that statistics from such a small number cannot carry much weight, yet for new schools which have only been open for two years the results are encouraging.

The next wave of 55 free schools, which opened in September 2012, will all have to be inspected by September 2014. There are also another 200 planning to open in September 2013 and beyond. No doubt many will be watching closely to see whether a larger sample of free schools will fare as well and how they will compare to other state schools. With free schools often facing stern opposition both nationally and in their locality, the government will be keen to do everything possible to see them succeed.

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