It’s seven years now since the first 24 free school opened to great fanfare. Yet capital costs for five of these first wave schools are still not known.
Are we to believe that the total cost of site purchase, refurbishment and construction is not finalised after seven years? None of these five schools were listed as still being in temporary accommodation in November 2018.
The five free schools opened in 2011 where capital costs are still unpublished are:
West London Free School
ARK Atwood Primary Academy
ARK Conway Primary Academy
Barnfield Moorlands, now The Linden Academy. In January 2018, Ofsted said The Linden moved to new buildings in January 2016 – three years ago. Yet the Department for Education apparently doesn’t know how much these buildings cost.
Canary Wharf College, now Canary Wharf College East Ferry. In July 2013, Ofsted said the free school would move into new accommodation in September 2014 – over four years ago. Again, it appears the DfE hasn’t yet finalised the cost.
It is not acceptable for the DfE to keep these costs hidden. There can be no valid reason for concealment. Using the excuse that the costs will be published eventually when Freedom of Information requests are denied does not mean the data can be postponed indefinitely.
ADDENDUM 13.33, 1 February 2019: Capital costs for free schools released by the DfE on 31 January 2019 can be downloaded here.