Leaked document claims David Cameron will propose 153 new free schools

Leaked document claims David Cameron will propose 153 new free schools

More than 100 new free schools could open under a Conservative government, a leaked announcement by the prime minister claims.

According to reports by the Guardian and The Mirror, David Cameron is expected to reveal in a speech on Monday that if the party is re-elected after May’s election it would open 153 free schools over the next five years.

The document also allegedly states Mr Cameron is to announce the names of 48 free schools that will open next summer.

The Guardian reports Mr Cameron will say in the speech: “We are going to dramatically expand the free schools programme … Today, I am announcing 48 new ones and I am saying that if you vote Conservative at least 153 will open in the next parliament, providing 100,000 good school places.”

There are currently more than 240 open free schools. Last month, the Department for Education released details of 148 new free schools applying to open this year, and beyond, after a Freedom of Information request from the British Humanist Association.

It is not clear if the 153 figure Mr Cameron is proposing includes these applications already in the pipeline.

In response to the document, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said: “Instead of focusing on the need for more primary school places, David Cameron’s Government has spent £241 million on free schools in areas that already have enough school places.

“The result is a 200 per cent increase in the number of infants taught in classes of more than 30.

“Parents waiting for the results of their children’s primary school applications will be astonished to learn that David Cameron wants to continue funnelling money in to areas of surplus school places, via the free schools programme, rather than addressing the crisis in primary school places.

“Labour will target investment in new schools in areas of need, switching funds to cap infant class sizes at 30.”

The leaked document comes after the founder of one of the country’s first free schools was charged with a number of fraud offences.

After a police probe into alleged financial irregularities, Sajid Raza, founder of Bradford’s Kings Science Academy, has now been charged with three offences of fraud by abuse of position, three offences of false accounting, two offences of obtaining a money transfer by deception, and one offence of fraud by false representation.

Mr Cameron previously praised the school, now known as Dixon Kings after joining the Dixons Academy chain, during a visit after it opened in 2011.

Last week, education secretary Nicky Morgan announced the closure of Durham Free School. She said she was “not prepared to let any child remain in a failing school”; Ofsted put the school into special measures in January amid concerns about the “prejudiced” pupils and weak teaching and learning.