This is a heated debate about Free Schools that I had with Rachel Wolf from the New Schools Network -- the quango that helps free school applications -- this Monday. She questioned me over my claim that a third of applications for free schools had been from creationist groups, saying my facts were wrong. They were; my apologies for a poor memory. I think it was the heat of the moment; I was quite nervous!
Nevertheless, the British Humanist Society suggest the situation is pretty bad. This is from Hansard
"The Department for Education (DfE) has begun to publish the names of applications to run free schools and, a high proportion of those have come from faith groups. In a recent tranche, seven of the ten 'Free School' applications have religious or 'spiritual' connections. Among the approved applications are a school which teaches 'consciousness-based education' including 'transcendental meditation', an Islamic boys' school, and a school run by a group set up by an 'Ordained Minister of the Free Church'. Whilst the Department of Education has stated that the Education Secretary, Rt Hon Michael Gove, is ‘crystal clear’ that the ‘teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact’ they have not demonstrated how they will exclude creationist groups effectively from establishing schools  . The Secretary of State has stated as recently as January this year that applications from creationist groups to run free schools would be considered."
The British Centre for Science Education
has more concerns, while this article in the TES indicates that the fundamentalist group EveryDay Champions
are very keen to set up a free school and have creationism on the Science curriculum.
While my facts were a little shaky at times, the key points are valid; free schools will drain resources from other schools, the agenda is being hijacked by faith and special interest groups, standards of teaching will be poor, and the whole thing is very unfair.