I'm wondering if anyone has information on what I'm calling the 'middle way' for free schools.
Most of us know there is a new process for free a school proposer which requires much stronger evidence in order to move forward and be awarded funding in the first instance. However, I was told this week by the DfE that schools such as Rivendale Free School, who have a proposal approved under the old process but switch to 2012 opening attempts are allowed to submit said business case up until April 15 2011 - and that a funding agreement would then be pending the premises and consultation. Rather than be required to go through the new process, it seems that they are being allowed to continue along the older process - but I am unsure of where the new evaluation of the proposals fits in. Will it be the new standard or the old? And are they getting funding for this new 'wave' of activity/marketing etc? There are new questions afoot.
We did, however, helpfully learn that Jasmine Studios was among the locations deemed inappropriate or unaffordable, and that they are looking for a location for the proposed school to open in 2012. This stands in contradiction to what Rivendale recently told a well attended AGM about seeking to use the site for a smaller cohort per year starting in 2012. Given than the information obtained earlier that week, we knew they could not pursue that location . This kind of thing doesn't exactly build trust from the first launch attempt fiasco at our local Health Centre on Milson Road - and is not really what I would find heartening behaviour by those who want to educate young children.