First 'Free Schools' Opening In September

First 'Free Schools' Opening In September

The first 24 'free schools' will be opening next month, the Department for Education has announced.

The successful candidates have been selected from the 323 that applied for funding. The schools will all be state-funded, but will be set up by parents, charities and education experts, and they will not have to follow the national curriculum.

Some of the 'free schools' are existing schools that are taking up 'free' status. These include the Maharishi School, in Lancashire, which stresses the importance of yoga. A particularly vocal enthusiast of the 'free school' system is the journalist, Toby Young, who will be setting up his own school in West London. Young's will have an academically rigorous curriculum, with an emphasis on Latin.

Five different faith groups will be getting the chance to run their own state-financed schools. These include the first state-financed Sikh school, two Jewish primary schools, a Hindu school, a Hare Krishna School, and a Church of England school.

The Department for Education said that half of the 24 were in the most deprived 30 per cent of communities in the country. The capital cost of setting up the 24 schools will range from £110m to £130m.

The education secretary, Michael Gove, was aiming for hundreds of free schools to be opened within the first year of the coalition government. They are a flagship policy from Conservative education policy. However, so far, only 32 of the 323 applications have been approved. The successful applicants from the second round will be announced at the end of the month.


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