has a story this morning revealing that of the 323 free school bids made to the Department for Education, only 40 have been accepted and only 4 have signed funding agreements to open this September. Two of these are faith primary schools, one with an intake of 15 pupils. The rest will be obliged to re-apply under the new , tougher application process
This information was actually put on the DFE website
on Monday but, perhaps not surprisingly, unaccompanied by the usual fanfare and press releases. It is not hard to see why. In the run up the the General Election, the Conservative Party was trumpeting the 200,000 new places that it would create in free schools in this Parliament. If they carry on at this rate, that particular project will take most of the rest of Gove's lifetime.
Clearly there isn't a stampede of parents wanting to start their own school, and the Department itself is now tacitly admitting that some of those groups who did put in bids are not suitable candidates anyway. In the meantime it would be good if Mr Gove could tell us how much these schools are costing , why it needs 100 civil servants to open four schools in 18 months and when he is going to inform the remaining 20,000 plus schools in this country how their increasingly pressing need for capital investment is going to be met?