£60m spent on free schools

(37 Posts)
ipadquietly Fri 28-Jun-13 20:09:28

This just makes me SOOOOOOOOO cross angry

I want a revolution!
www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23105698

Farewelltoarms Fri 28-Jun-13 20:14:35

What's the cost per pupil I wonder?

eddiemairswife Fri 28-Jun-13 23:46:36

It wouldn't be so bad if the LA could decide on the location of the free school. we have a free school opening in September, but it is not where there is a shortage of places. The Government's argument would probably be that the parents in that area could set up their own free school. However it's a locality with a high proportion of parents from various countries, many with limited English and in poorly paid jobs. they are not in a position to set up a free school yet they are the hard working families the Government claims it wants to help.

ReallyTired Fri 28-Jun-13 23:58:23

The problem with the places shortage in our area is that there are plenty of perfectly good LEA run state schools. Many parents had no idea quite how many children were chasing so few places. They had no idea that they were going to be stuck in a school places blackhole and had naively believed that their child would attend the lovely school 300 metres away.

I fear that the governant will be "shocked" by the huge demand for secondary school places in 7 years time!

muminlondon Sat 29-Jun-13 00:12:34

Impact assessments (e.g. how neighbouring schools will be affected) published for first wave schools here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/request-for-impact-assessments-for-wave-1-approved-free-schools

First requested October 2011 so this must be one Gove has been fighting for a long time.

muminlondon Sat 29-Jun-13 00:18:42

Oh, and interesting that the Discovery Free school is included in there because it has gone into special measures. They can't say they weren't warned about the danger of employing unqualified staff.

I despair.

ipadquietly Sat 29-Jun-13 00:54:37

I'd seen that it had gone into special measures but hadn't read the report. That is damning. shock

ragged Sat 29-Jun-13 16:04:50

That is a damning report.

How are Free Schools doing in their Ofsted reports compared to national averages?

ipadquietly Sat 29-Jun-13 17:26:22

A third of Free Schools require improvement
hmm

I have tried and tried to find pupil numbers. Anyone have any luck? As farewell said, it would be really interesting to find current cost per pupil.

teacherwith2kids Sat 29-Jun-13 19:07:27

That is, by some margin, the worst Ofsted inspection report I have ever seen - even for schools placed in Special Measures.

ragged Sat 29-Jun-13 20:06:42

21% of recently inspected schools not good or outstanding (very surprised, I thought it was more like 50% that were Satisfactory/ReqImpr!). So it does look like Free Schools might be less than average quality. Am not surprised. Sad, though, all that wasted work.

What are the statistics for Academies?

ragged Sat 29-Jun-13 20:07:52

Ah, but wait, oops should have read better, that 1/3 statistic is based on NINE school inspections. It's not enough to say anything reliable.

AcrylicPlexiglass Sat 29-Jun-13 20:24:20

OMG! That ofsted report for the free school in Crawley is stunningly damning!

muminlondon Sun 30-Jun-13 15:01:29

ipadquietly- pupil numbers in the January 2013 school census have been published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2013

A more convenient way of looking at that data is in Edubase but it hasn't got the 2013 data yet.

ragged - no, not enough Ofsted inspections of free schools to form an overall view yet. I think of 7 out of 11 schools inspected have been good; primaries mostly good, secondaries mostly need to improve (especially ex-independent sector), none outstanding yet. Easy to filter and sort results on the Ofsted data tab of the performance tables (e.g. here ) - updated every month.

The national picture of Ofsted ratings is on Ofsted Dataview which shows 69% of all schools good/outstanding and 4% inadequate. You can filter to change the graphics for sponsor-led academies too. But some ratings are under the old framework - the latest picture is as of December 2012.

teacherwith2kids Sun 30-Jun-13 15:30:52

But muminlondon, unless I am missing something, there isn't a convenient way of dissecting out the free schools from the other 'state funded primary / secindary' schools from that data?

What it would be interesting to know is:
Cost of a free school place per child in them.

soverylucky Sun 30-Jun-13 17:04:51

I really feel this whole policy is like a time bomb waiting to explode. How can the costs be justified? Where is the accountability?

muminlondon Sun 30-Jun-13 18:30:24

teacherwith2kids - do you mean school census? School level data is in the zip file so needs a bit of analysis - stats by year group is file 'School_levelncyear_2013.csv'.

So in the census are 79 free schools, of which 8 are alternative provision or special and 71 'mainstream' schools with 10,130 FTE pupils this year. But they're in various years.

37 primaries have 3190 pupils (35 have pupils in reception FT or PT, only 1 with more than 60 pupils, 13 with less than 30 pupils)
34 secondaries have 6940 pupils (30 have Y7 pupils, only 10 with more than 100 pupils).

So difficult to calculate costs per pupil or value for money because the schools are not full. Four of those secondaries with over 100 pupils have had Ofsted inspections. One good so far, the other three require improvement.

£40m divided by 72 schools according to BBC is half a million per school not including any capital costs but much was wasted on schools that didn't open. Otherwise, overheads will be proportionately higher with lots of tiny schools unless they are managed by chains and share headteachers, etc.

meditrina Sun 30-Jun-13 18:33:37

Free schools to date are more about expanding parental choice than about fixing the impending crisis over numbers of places.

LEAs can of course open new schools as free schools (yes, I know it sounds illogical, but that's how it is) if they can't find an acedemy sponsor for a new school. I think we shall see more of this in the coming years.

ReallyTired Sun 30-Jun-13 18:39:06

Our LEA has already opened a couple of free schools. The level of red tape is an unbelivable waste of money. I feel that LEAs should have the freedom to open schools without having to go through the same hoops as amatuers like Toby Young.

muminlondon Sun 30-Jun-13 18:57:28

LAs can't open free schools - that's the point. They can sort of be involved through a convoluted trust arrangement with other partners (like in Kingston) but have no political control whatsoever and can't do anything if the trustees adopt a different religious ethos and change the admissions policies.

They can invite academy bids but any council land gets transferred to the trust and the school gets controlled by a chain like Ark or Harris.

meditrina Sun 30-Jun-13 19:04:08

Local Authorities can open Free schools - if no academy backer can be found. The site I've linked isn't exactly an enthusiastic supporter of the new school structures. But its basic facts tend to be right.

muminlondon Sun 30-Jun-13 19:09:11

Or they can invite a diocese to open a voluntary aided school which is the only type of maintained school they can open without a competition.

Free school proposers apply direct to the DfE who direct the transfer of council land even if they are opposed to the school because of a possible negative impact on other schools. Islington is one example where the council moved a school from an unsuitable crumbling old building aimng to sell off some land to pay for a refurb and build social housing. But they won't get their money or housing after all. The new free school will either need lots of money for a new building or will be housed in the unsuitable old building. And might not fill up. It's not really joined up thinking and ignores local consultation.

muminlondon Sun 30-Jun-13 19:15:36

Butmedtrina that still assumes that a chain or other provider runs the school. I know some for-profit providers like GEMS are trying to chisel their way into the market this way. There's still no local oversight or control - it's purely 'commissioning'. But not worth spending the time on because Labour will change the legislation when it next gets in so it's uncertain and a lot of hassle for no control.

78bunion Sun 30-Jun-13 19:55:35

The Montessori one which was criticised was just being Montessori which involves learning to read later but they soon catch up. I don't think ofsted should apply one size is right for all for different types of school. Plenty of other countries' schools start at 6 and 7 for formal learning in places like Holland and the children soon catch up and exceed British children.

muminlondon Sun 30-Jun-13 20:35:15

'I don't think ofsted should apply one size is right for all for different types of school'

But that's exactly what Gove is doing with his prescriptive national curriculum and floor targets of 65% getting level 4 in SATS irrespective of where they were at 5 or 7, otherwise an academy sponsor is imposed.

I sympathise with your view that children develop at different rates but it's unacceptable for the government to be obsessively dictatorial with 95% of primary schools but cool about lack of evidence of progress at academies/free schools. It would be double standards and Ofsted is meant to be independent - though I agree Gove's policies on freedom/prescription are weirdly inconsistent.

And read the Ofsted report because a lot of the criticism is about inadequate leadership, governance and assessment of special needs children.

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