Free schools call

The Church of England - - News -

FREE SCHOOLS should be en­cour­aged to form chains in an at­tempt to pr event “costly fail­ure”, the Bishop of Ox­for d has said.

Bishop John Pritchard’s com­ments came at ques­tion time in the House of Lor ds amid the on­go­ing r ow be­tween the Conser va­tive and Lib­eral Demo­crat coali­tion part­ners about the cost of free schools.

He asked ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Lord Nash: “Given that pr even­tion is bet­ter than costly cur e, can you let us know what is be­ing done to make sur e that free schools are es­tab­lished as groups of in­ter de­pen­dent schools, rather than in­de­pen­dent and au­ton­o­mous units?

“Can you let us know how what we have lear nt fr om the acad­e­mies pro­gramme - that we need to get schools gr ouped to­gether in multi-academy trusts - is be­ing trans­fer red to free schools?”

Lord Nash said it was an “ex­tremely good point”.

“Al­though it is tr ue that a num­ber of out­stand­ing schools have been es­tab­lished en­tir ely in­de­pen­dently, the way for ward is the school-to-school sup­por t model, with schools op­er­at­ing in lo­cal clus­ters and sec­on­daries work­ing with their pri­maries.

“We are tak­ing this lear ning, which has been ver y suc­cess­ful in the academy move­ment, into the free schools move­ment.”

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