New report in the Independent exposes that 3 free schools (of the first 9) to have been inspected have been found to require improvements.
Michael Gove’s flagship education project has been dealt an embarrassing blow after inspectors demanded that three of the new wave of “free schools” must improve their teaching, leadership and pupil performance. In the first official verdict on the Education Secretary’s free schools programme, Ofsted inspectors have ruled that three of the first nine institutions to be examined are “not good” schools.
The “requires improvements” judgement handed down to Batley Grammar School in Yorkshire, Sandbach School in Cheshire and Kings Science Academy in Bradford is the third-lowest of the four possible grades that Ofsted can give – one above the “inadequate” rating. Each school now faces another full-scale inspection within the next two years.
Labour said the “worrying” judgement blew a hole in the Government’s pledge that the semi-independent schools, set up by interest groups including parents, charities and businesses, would improve educational standards for thousands of young people. Union leaders complained that any council-run schools given such low grades “would be closed down or forced to accept academy status”. The shadow Education Secretary, Stephen Twigg, said: “Michael Gove promised that his free schools programme would raise standards, but the early signs will worry parents. He needs to focus on driving up school quality in those areas which just aren’t good enough.”