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What are free schools and how are they different from ordinary state schools?

(7 Posts)
crystalglasses Sun 16-Oct-11 17:51:40

I really don't understand what free schools are and why we need them. how are they linked to academies and what are academies? Please would someone enlighten me.

prh47bridge Sun 16-Oct-11 20:50:26

Existing state schools can become academies. This means they have greater freedom and more funding but have to pay for some things that state schools receive for free. Academies have greater freedom about how they deliver the curriculum, They can set their own pay and conditions for staff. They can also set their own admission criteria (but they cannot select by academic ability and they must comply with the Admissions Code) and change the length of terms and school days. They receive much less in the way of services from the local authority. They have to provide the services they need themselves or buy them, either from the local authority or elsewhere. The extra funding they receive is designed to compensate them for this.

Free schools are very similar to academies. The main difference is that they are brand new schools whereas academies are state schools that have converted.

psammyad Wed 19-Oct-11 12:18:47

Looks like some free schools can be academies too?

www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/education/9307204.Bolingbroke_school_plan_given_seal_of_approval/?ref=mr

"A planning application to convert the disused Bolingbroke Hospital into Wandsworth’s first ‘free school’ has been approved.

The academy will be free to attend and funded directly by the Government - it will be governed independently and managed by education charity ARK Schools. "

ARK run academies which are brand new schools, as well as (I think) academies-which-used-to-be-failing-schools.

I'm not sure what makes Bolingbroke a "Free School" as opposed to just an "Academy"? Will the parents have more say in how it's run than would be normal for an ARK school?

prh47bridge Wed 19-Oct-11 13:09:09

Perhaps I should rephrase my last post for clarity.

Existing academies are maintained schools that have converted. A free school is essentially an academy which has been set up from scratch rather than converting from a maintained school.

chill1243 Wed 19-Oct-11 16:03:04

thanks for the explanation

nlondondad Fri 21-Oct-11 18:19:26

Do schools that choose to convert to being an academy have to find a sponsor?

prh47bridge Fri 21-Oct-11 19:12:27

Not any more. They can have a sponsor if they want but it is not compulsory.

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