DfE figures reveal England’s most expensive free schools
The Department of Education (DfE) has given new free schools almost £60 million in extra funding to support them to the end of their first year, figures published over the weekend revealed.
This money is in addition to both per pupil revenue funding, and to the capital used to acquire sites for new schools.
The figures, published following a ruling by the Information Commissioner, cover 77 open schools, as well as 10 which were withdrawn from the programme.
They show that the government spent £20 million on schools before they opened. This includes £441,000 in funding given to schools that never opened at all.
In addition, the government provided £40 million in “post-opening funding”. The DfE said the money was required to “cover essential initial costs, such as buying books and equipment; and to meet the costs arising as the school builds up its cohorts over time”.
The figures also showed a wide variation in the distribution of such funding.
On average, each school received around £770,000. But a handful received only £25,000, while one – Reach Academy Feltham – received more than £2 million.
A few weeks ago the government also updated the document revealing capital spending on free schools.
It showed that the first 23 such schools to open had required £85.8 million to acquire sites, an average of £3.8 million per school.
The most expensive had been King Science Academy, which had required £10.5 million in capital funding, as well as £1.2 million in extra revenue funding.
Bristol Free School, meanwhile, had also topped the £10 million mark, requiring £9.6 million in capital and £743,000 in pre- and post-opening revenue funding.