Cameron pledges 500 more free schools

British Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo Arun Jacob Thomas
British Prime Minister David Cameron.                                                 Photo Arun Jacob Thomas

New 500 free schools would be opened in England in the next five years under a Conservative government, David Cameron will pledge.

He will commit to creating an extra 270,000 school places in free schools, if re-elected, by 2020.

The prime minister says these state-funded, start-up schools are “raising standards and restoring discipline”.

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt says free schools lead to school places where they are not needed reported BBC.

Speaking in London, Mr Cameron will set out the details of the final wave of 49 free schools agreed for the current Parliament, and then promise an expansion if re-elected in May’s general election.

Free schools, both primary and secondary, are set up by academy sponsors, charities, teachers and groups of parents, and operate outside local authority control. Academy sponsors include faith groups, universities and companies.

With the free schools being announced later, there will be more than 400 already opened or approved, with 230,000 places.

But the policy has been controversial because there is no local strategic oversight of where these schools open, and some have opened in areas where there are already enough school places.

Equally some local authorities in areas where new schools are needed have struggled to find groups to open free schools.