IN 2010 the government officially launched free schools, since then we have seen waves of them opening across the country.
But are they that different from regular schools and what kind of powers to they have?
What is a free school?
Free schools are funded by the government but are not run by local authorities.
Free schools can be set up by charities, universities, community and faith group or even parents and teachers.
There are a few specialised subcategories of free school but not all fall into these categories: studio schools, university technical colleges and maths schools.
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What is the purpose of free schools?
Free schools have more control over their academic processes unlike mainstream schools.
They can set their own pay and conditions for staff, manage their own budget and change the length of school terms and the school day.
They do not have to follow the national curriculum.
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However they will still have Ofsted inspections like regular schools.
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What are the advantages of free schools?
Free schools can be created in the communities that need them most such as an area where standards are failing or where schools are already over subscribed.
They can adapt their curriculum to the children's needs, for example reducing class size so children have more one-to-one time with their teacher.
These schools can have a specialism, like music, art or sport. They can then choose to put more focus and funding into that subject.
Which is ideal for students who have talent or passion in one area.
Free schools don’t need to be housed in specific buildings.
They can take up space in libraries, churches or other buildings that are not being used.
How do free schools make money?
Free schools are run on a non-for-profit basis.
But free schools are funded by the Department of Education. Funding is worked out on a per pupil basis, like other schools.
They can also apply for additional grants.
How many free schools are there in the UK?
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There are over 600 free schools open across England.
They include primary, secondary, all-through, standalone sixth forms and SEND schools.
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