Lister Welcome Free Schools Plan
"would help teachers, parents and charities set up their own schools."
Free Schools’ are independent state schools run by teachers and accountable to parents.
The council is already working with a parents group in Battersea and has identified the Putney Hospital site as another location for a new school..
Education Secretary Michael Gove has today spelt out the process for parents keen to establish a new school in their area. A new proposal form is now available on the Department of Education’s website.
The government is also relaxing planning rules on the types of premises that can be used to house new schools. It has reallocated £50 million of funding from the Harnessing Technology Grant to create a Standards and Diversity Fund. This will provide capital funding up to 31 March 2011. Funding for the initiative will be a top priority in the forthcoming Spending Review.
Cllr Lister said today, “No one’s done more than Wandsworth to break the stranglehold of the one-size-fits-all secondary school. We’ve encouraged our schools to break free of the authority and develop their own identity. As a result we have an excellent range of schools which achieve some of the best results in London.
“Making sure each school could offer something different was the first stage in raising standards and opening up choice for parents. Now we have to go one step further. Offering variety within the system is not enough. We now have to create the conditions where new school providers are able to respond quickly and flexibly to changing demands.
“The great thing about Free Schools is that they enable parents to decide their own priorities. This will be a challenge to the norms of the state system. Some Free Schools might opt for smaller class sizes, others would go for a longer school day. The impact of this revolution will be felt in every school – that’s why we can’t wait to get started in Wandsworth.”
The New Schools Network will act as the first point of contact for all groups who wish to start schools and will provide them with information as they go through the process and prepare their proposals. It will receive £500,000 of initial funding to help make sure groups across the country get the support they need to get started.
June 22, 2010