The Phoenix Free School, a proposed secondary school in Oldham which hopes to open in September 2013, is offering after-school classes in reading
for pupils aged 6-9 early next year. The classes will be run weekly and are free for the first term. All parents have to do to show interest in the free lessons is to complete a form. This is the same form as the one being used for parents who wish to register an interest
in the free school.
Concerns about a free school offering an incentive were raised by Baroness Walmsley
in the House of Lords on 15 March 2012 following a post
on the Local Schools Network. She left a message on the thread: “I think these tactics are outrageous and amount to fraud. It just goes to show that the Liberal Democrats were right, when the Academies Act was going through Parliament, to ask that those who proposed to open one of these new schools should not be allowed to carry out the consultation. I’m afraid we failed to persuade the Government that this would risk distortion of the results.”
The question is: how many other free school proposals have offered similar carrots to increase evidence of demand?