DfE considers first four 16-19 free schools

It has emerged that four 16-19 Free Schools have been proposed.

Last May the Department for Education (DfE) announced it would consider applications from people who want to set up age 16-19 Free Schools.

According to House of Commons Hansard 13 Sept 2011, Labour’s MP for Scunthorpe Nic Dakin, asked Schools Minister, Nick Gibb if the Secretary of Stated for Education will publish a list of applications received by his Department to open free schools for 16 to 19 year olds in September 2012.

Mr Gibb replied: “The Department is still in the process of assessing the applications it has received to establish Free Schools in 2012. An announcement will be made around the end of September about those that are approved to move to the next stage of development.”

Nic Dakin told FE Week:  “There is a lot of chaos around post 16 education, what the government needs to do is look at what’s really working well. Sixth Forms are working really well.

“To introduce different institutions with different structures, such as Free Schools is a waste of resources and is poor value from the public purse.”

Colin Hindmarch, principal of Harlow College said: “I have nothing philosophically against Free Schools, it’s all about the way they’re managed, 16- 19 Free Schools could be anything from absolutely outstanding to absolutely disastrous.

“There are two points of view, if a local college is outstanding then the competition of a Free School for competition’s sake is not helpful, especially to the student. If, however the local college is rubbish or is not catering for a specific group, then it’s not necessarily a bad thing.”