At the start of the new school year in September, twenty-four rather different schools will be opening their doors for the first time – these are the “free” schools.
Another step in the coalition’s education reform
These “free” schools have been selected from a number of applications and have received government funding to form their own curriculum. The schools are intended to provide places for pupils in areas where schools are stretched to their limits.
Some of the twenty-four schools are specialised religious schools, others choose instead to focus on particular subjects – subjects ranging from Latin to Yoga.
In all, this September will see in the first terms of two schools for children between the ages of three and eighteen, five secondary schools and seventeen primary schools. Some of which are reformed existing schools whilst others will be ringing school bells for the very first time.
The schools in question
The “free” schools include the West London Free School complete with a curriculum designed by Toby Young, an author and journalist who wishes to emphasise academia – and Latin in particular.
Meanwhile, in the North of the country – Lancashire to be exact – the Maharishi School will be imparting the knowledge and beliefs of the Maharishi to its new pupils.
Also included in the line-up of “free” schools are several specialist Jewish schools in London, a Sikh school in Birmingham and a Hindu school in Leicester.
Those against the “free” school scheme
As with any new initiative, the “free” school scheme has been met with a fair few critics.
According to members of the Labour Party and various educational professionals, the scheme jeopardises the future schools that are already up and running in areas near to the “free” schools.
Despite the fears of some, it would seem that applications are already been drawn up by more prospective “free” schools in the hopes of receiving funding to open next year.