The Guardian are reporting this evening
that the Newham Free Academy
are not going to be running a free school this year because of lack of interest. This is a huge embarrassment to the Coalition because it was exactly this kind of school that they wanted to encourage: a "no-frills" free school which would compete with existing comprehensives in an area of high deprivation that would "close the attainment gap". It appears that parents in the area are happy with existing provision, which, if you look at Newham closely, is largely quite good. Instead, it's clear that the free schools movement is appealing to parents from wealthier backgrounds
, as has been predicted many times on this website. This is a policy that fuels social segregation and will not close the attainment gap. Now we have evidence that it's wasting taxpayer's money before a single child has been educated. How many more failed free schools will it take before the government shuts down this disastrous initiative?