Free Schools and Specialist Schools

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Free Schools

Free schools are schools which can be set up by groups of parents, teachers, charities, businesses, universities, trusts, religions or voluntary groups but are funded directly by central government with increased control over curriculum and teachers pay as well as schooling conditions.

Originated in Sweden but USA have also introduced them. Sweden however has come under some bad press over free schools lately as school results have worsened.

The current coalition have introduced them into our education system and as of September 2013, there will be 114 free schools which have been approved

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Free Schools 2

Of the initial 323 free school applications, 115 of them were from faith groups.

£50 million was initially allocated for free schools in the first year but they will not recieve additional money per pupil for their day to day running.

They are still subject to OFSTED and league tables.

They do NOT have to employ qualified teachers.

According to a servey in 2011, 95% of people are opposed to schools run by private companies and 96% were against schools run by parents. 

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Specialist Schools

Specialist schools were created under Labour to aid parents in selecting an appropriate school for their children.

In September 2000, there were 500 specialist schools but now 90% of all schools now have a specialism. (which takes the meaning away from them somewhat)

Schools are encouraged to play to its strenths and prioritise children who demonstrate relevant aptitude. 

Specialist schools are able to select up to 10% of its entrants. 

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Specialist Schools 2


  • Thriving and raising standards
  • Extra money allocated which can boost schools
  • Ensure more young people leave with good education
  • Extra drive and focus


  • Create an unbalanced academic mix - especially in inner-cities
  • Specialisms are not equal
  • People have been known to be doing better at physics in a music college
  • Can create a damaging hierarchy
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