• DfE spent more than £23m on failed studio schools

    The government has spent more than £23 million on studio schools that have either closed or never opened but the price tag total won’t be known until the much-delayed publication of its final costs. Twenty-six studio schools have closed or announced plans to close since the scheme was introduced in 2010. In the past week

    5.00 Jun. 15th, 2018 | News

  • A simple guide to the next wave of free school applications

    Wave 13 of the free schools applications opened today. Mark Lehain explains how it differs from previous rounds The next wave of free school applications announced today will be quite different to the ones that have gone before – so if you are remotely interested in the policy or maybe even bidding yourself, it’s worth

    13.59 May. 11th, 2018 | Opinion

  • United Learning and Ark in north-London turf war

    Two of the country’s leading academy trusts have clashed over plans for an “unneeded” free school in north London. Plans for Ark to build the Ark Pioneer Academy – a secondary school with a sixth form – on the site of the former Underhill Stadium in Barnet are expected to be rubber-stamped soon despite objections

    5.00 Feb. 10th, 2018 | News

  • Free schools can't be judged as a homogenous group

    Tom Richmond is wrong on one thing, argues Thomas Byrne. There already are numerous free school successes – and more than a few that have gone wrong It’s true that it’s too early to tell whether the free schools programme has lived up to its champions’ claims; the former DfE advisor Tom Richmond was correct

    5.00 Feb. 5th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Free schools: do their outcomes justify the cost?

    There’s not enough evidence yet to see whether free schools have worked, says Tom Richmond, but what we do now know is quite how expensive the project has been When Toby Young, the director of the New Schools Network, said last summer that free schools were “the most successful education policy of the post-war period”,

    5.00 Jan. 29th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Warrington academy reduces intake, blames nearby free school

    A secondary school in Warrington intends to reduce its intake, blaming the arrival of an award-winning free school on its patch. Birchwood Community High School (pictured), an academy in the Birchwood area of Warrington, is consulting on a proposal to reduce its intake by 40 pupils from September 2019 after the King’s Leadership Academy Warrington,

    5.00 Nov. 27th, 2017 | News

  • Revealed: The free school 'advisors' worth £100 million

    The government has spent almost £100 million on advice for free school projects over the past three years, according to documents obtained by Schools Week which reveal for the first time the huge, hidden costs of the programme. The figures, provided by the Department for Education in response to our Freedom of Information requests, show

    5.00 Nov. 25th, 2017 | News

  • There's no right or wrong in the free schools debate

    Neither side is completely right or wrong in the free schools debate, explains Natalie Perera, but what is clear is that there is no quick fix to improving outcomes Free schools have been politically divisive since their establishment in 2010. To their supporters, they are a helpful disruption to the schools market, improving competition, choice

    17.30 Nov. 17th, 2017 | Opinion

  • 65% of special free schools are for autism

    Autism-specific free schools are continuing to dominate new special free school approvals, with more than half of those in the pipeline having it as a focus. However, SEND experts are openly asking whether this one area of need is receiving too much attention. “We need to know what analysis has been done to show 65

    5.00 Nov. 3rd, 2017 | News

  • DfE placed on UK Statistics Authority watch list

    The Department for Education has been cautioned by the UK Statistics Authority for delaying data releases and providing unclear information to the public. It has been censured in particular for the way it published data on academy transfers, reported extensively by Schools Week. The “extended timeframe between promising the release of data and its publication was

    16.47 Sep. 26th, 2017 | News

  • Free schools are a cost-effective option

    Amid reports that plans to expand free schools could be scrapped to fund the manifesto promise of an additional £4 billion for education, Barnaby Lenon argues that free schools are actually a cost-effective option I am chairman of governors of a free school with 420 pupils. The school is in a converted office block rented

    18.01 Jul. 11th, 2017 | Opinion