There are serious problems with the Department for Education’s application form for free schools.
These are the questions we MUST insist the DfE must put on free schools application forms, otherwise the process will not be honest, transparent or correct.
Take a look at the proposal form yourself
! This is the form that applicants have to fill in to get thousands of pounds worth of taxpayers' money. Filling it in is a lot less work than getting a bank loan!
It is ridiculously reluctant to ask any searching questions, other than the obvious legal questions checking to see the applicants are not criminals or whether there are conflicts of interest.
Key questions the form DOES NOT ask but we must INSIST does:
- Is there spare capacity in other state schools? If so, with some support, can these schools meet parents' needs much more cheaply than setting up a new school?
- Are there people involved with the setting up of the school who are going to benefit financially either directly or indirectly with its setting up?
- What assurances are you going to give that standards will be high and the curriculum will be broad and balanced?
- Will the admissions process be fair and contain children of the local community of all abilities, social classes and ethnicities?
These are the questions in more detail:
|Key questions ||Further questions|| |
|WASTING TAX PAYERS’ MONEY. Are there spare places in other schools?||If so, why are they not being considered? If standards are low in the school, could parents assist with raising standards there?|| |
|CORRUPTION ISSUES. Who is going to benefit financially from the free school?||Are parents/relatives/friends of the free school set to profit from the establishment of the school?|| |
|FAIRNESS. Will the admissions procedures being genuinely non-selective and will pupils been drawn from whole of the local community||Will the school put off students from disadvantaged backgrounds by using alienating language? Will SEN, EAL, and pupils from minority groups be proportionately represented?|| |
|STANDARDS. Will the school provide a broad and balanced education that every child is entitled to?||Will there be rigorous training for teachers? Will the lessons be appropriate for the whole ability range?|| |
|ACCOUNTABILITY. Will the records of the school be available for the community to see?||Exam results, exclusions, SEN pupils, drop out rates be readily available? Will parents/community members be able to have a say in the running of the school?|| |