News and Support from The NASUWT
Commenting on the announcement by the Coalition Government of the opening of more free schools and the debate about whether they are in the right place to meet the demand for school places, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Where free schools have been opened is not the issue. The main concern should be that they are being opened at all.
“As more of them open it is essential not to lose sight of the profound implications for the education system of the Coalition Government’s ideologically driven free schools programme.
“At a time when the education budget has been dramatically cut, funding for free schools comes from top slicing the limited money available for other schools and their pupils.
“Capital funding, which would have allowed existing schools to expand or new ones to be built in areas where there is a shortage of school places, has been decimated and allocated disproportionately to the handful of free schools.
“There is no evidence to show that the free schools model raises standards of education, but there is a wealth of evidence to show that it can lead to social segregation, has a poor track record in serving pupils from deprived communities, does not require the employment of qualified teachers and generates a high turnover of staff.
“Public money is being poured into a handful of free schools to the detriment of existing schools and the children and young people who attend them.
“This is a flawed policy where the only aim is to open up state education to the market.”