The original concept of Free Schools is “all but dead” reveals Labour, as they warn that parents are increasingly being pushed out of their children’s education
- New analysis reveals that the proportion of parent-led Free Schools that the government has approved has plummeted from over a third in 2011 to just 3 per-cent (one Free School) this year.
- Alongside this, the Tories have snuck out new criteria for Free School applicants that actually removes the requirement for those proposing Free Schools to conduct a survey demonstrating demand from local parents.
- This comes on top of plans announced last month in the government’s Schools White Paper to scrap the requirement for schools to have parent governors – meaning that 50,000 parent volunteers could find themselves kicked off governing bodies under the Tories.
- Already this year, the Tories have scrapped the requirement for potential academy sponsors to have to consult with parents and the local community before taking over a school.
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education Lucy Powell MP said:
“It’s increasingly clear that the government’s original concept of a Free School is all but dead. The Tories have all but abandoned the concept of parent-led schools, and are instead overseeing a huge expansion of academy chains opening new schools. These findings will come as a surprise to parents and many in the Conservative Party, who are still being sold an untruth about the expansion of the Free Schools programme.
“It is completely disingenuous of government to suggest that parents are at the centre of the schools system. All the evidence shows they are relegating parents’ voices.
“Ministers are misleading parents and devaluing their contribution to their children’s education, increasingly pushing them out of decisions affecting their schools. Alongside plans to force already good and outstanding primary and secondary schools to become academies, against the wishes of parents and head teachers, the Tories want to scrap the requirement for parent governors. Parents have already been gagged by the government, when it comes to deciding on new academy sponsors for struggling schools.
“Rather than see parents as the enemy when it comes to school improvement and relegating their voice, Labour would put parents and local communities at the heart of the school system, encouraging them to take an active role in their children’s education to help improve standards and help every child achieve their potential.”