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News - 2 April 2013

NUT attack Free Schools

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) says that Free schools are being opened in parts of England where there is a surpluse of places and that this is a waste of public money when some areas face an acute shortage of primary places.

The NUT, meeting for its annual conference in Liverpool, has published research comparing the location of free schools with the projected availability of places in three years.

The union says that about one in five free schools, in the second and third waves of this new type of school, will add to "significant excess capacity".

The union criticises the Education Secretary Michael Gove for spending on free schools rather than the pressing need for primary places.

NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said "Gove is engaged in an ideological exercise, without sufficient care for the consequences of that policy."

The union says that opening new schools in areas with a surplus of places will damage existing schools by drawing away pupils and threatening the viability of services.

Last month, figures from the National Audit Office showed the need for more than 250,000 extra primary school places next year, to meet the demand of a rising birth rate.

This demographic bulge, which has seen schools struggling to tackle the shortage, will move through to secondary level.

A Department for Education spokesman rejected the claim of failing to respond to local need, adding that 80,000 extra primary places have been created and they are confident that the extra demand can be met.

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“Free schools are state-funded schools set up by parents or other groups, with the aim of responding to demand from local parents.”

If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
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