Briefing – ‘Free’ Schools’ in Freefall

Gove’s free school flagships are springing leaks at an alarming rate.AAA free schools briefing

Despite mounting criticism about the expense of the programme, a new free school costing £45m was revealed.

According to the Independent a Department for Education source said that, while civil servants raised concerns over the £45m spent on a central London sixth form for just 500 students, Michael Gove was determined to push ahead with the Harris Westminster Sixth Form. Lord Harris is a former party treasurer who has donated millions to the Tories and his academy chain enjoys close relations with Gove and the Department.

Elsewhere, because of funding cuts, sixth forms are making teachers redundant and limiting choices for post-16 courses. Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, whose own Barking constituency faces a place crisis, described the Harris Westminster expenditure as ‘outrageous’.

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