Over the last 18 months, I've been watching the involvement and engagement of the free schools process and I've been so encouraged by the people involved, that I genuinely believe it can do nothing but good.
Many of the arguments on this site seem to focus on the fact that LA Schools could be improved.
But that seems to miss the point.
The Free School (dare I call it) movement. Seems to be more about engagement by parents & community than an LA School could ever achieve.
This, in main of course, has been highlighted by the Governments push to keep the idea in the media and the high profile types who've been the initial founders (e.g. Katharine Birbalsingh & Toby Young).
In addition to the freedom this type of school offers to parents, pupils and teachers alike.
But I think Free Schools like Academies before them force communities to think about education in a different way to the existing LA system.
I was brought into Bexley Business Academy as it transferred from a failing school to an Academy. And what was noticeable was not the exam results but the complete turn around of attitude from the pupils.
They wanted to be in the school (truancy was at an all time high previously), were filled with aspiration (most students came from backgrounds where there expectations of future progression were kept low) and could generally engage with all the new facilities that were offered to them (there was much wrong too - I was brought in because, they'd had an entire TV Studio installed but nobody had been taught how to use it).
This may not have translated into exam results but anecdotally at least, translated into more well rounded, positive children joining society than the schools previous incarnation.
I think what Toby Young says in the we produced Free Schools video
about Working Class parents wanting the best for their children, is reflected in his schools intake and why I think this is genuinely a good thing for UK society.