David Cameron has pledged to create an extra 270,000 school places in free schools, on top of the 230,000 in free schools already open or approved.
The Prime Minister announced that 49 more free schools have been approved and promised a huge expansion if he’s re-elected in May, the BBC reports. If the Conservatives implement this, there would be 900 free schools, more than one in 30 state schools.
Mr. Cameron claimed that what he described as independent schools within the state sector “are not only outperforming other schools, but they are raising the performance of those around them, meaning more opportunities for children to learn the skills they need to get on in life”.
The government says that 70% of inspected free schools are rated good or outstanding
however with a few high-profile cases of free schools failing just months after opening, these claims have been questioned.
Labour has promised to end the free schools programme, claiming that it diverts funds away from creating extra places where there is the greatest shortage. “Instead of focusing on the need for more primary school places, David Cameron’s government has spent £241 million on free schools in areas that already have enough school places,” said Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt. “The result is a 200% increase in the number of infants taught in classes of more than 30.”
Are you in favour of more free schools or do you agree with Labour that they divert funds away from areas where there is the greatest shortage?