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free schools – an ill-considered policy?

7 January 2014

The chair of governors at a free school which the DfE have decided will close has written to Lord Nash stating the free school was made a scapegoat for a government policy which was rushed and ill-considered – a phrase which echoes the National Audit Office’s comments on free school policy. The chair believes the DfE approach lacked support for the school’s plans to improve and that there had been no support around the implications of closure. The DfE’s view is that swift action was necessary to protect the education of pupils at the school and the DfE’s actions were appropriate.

Whilst swift action is required when a child’s education is at risk, that risk could be reduced by a more robust approval and monitoring process for free school proposals to ensure publically funded education delivers quality provision where it is needed. Such a rigorous approach should provide a firmer foundation on which the free school policy aims can be achieved – to ensure all children receive an excellent education.

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