ASCL says opening free schools may be waste of money
Published: 24th Mar 2012 04:44:38
Opening free schools in areas where they are not needed is a "shameful" waste of taxpayers' money, according to the leader of a head teachers' union.
In a speech on Saturday, Brian Lightman of the Association of School and College Leaders, will also say free schools may damage existing schools.
"Such experimentation is deeply and unequivocally immoral," he will say.
A government spokesman said free schools would give parents more choice of schooling for their children.
Free schools are funded from the public education budget, like other state schools, on a per-pupil basis.
However, they are run independently from local authority control by not-for-profit trusts, which can buy in private sector services.
In a speech to the union's annual conference, Mr Lightman will say: "ASCL has no objection to new schools opening in areas where there is a shortage of school places but we cannot condone the creation of costly surplus places when other services are being cut."
The union suggests that free schools planned for Suffolk, Essex, Bristol and Teesside are all in areas where there are already surplus places. It is also concerned that free schools may receive more generous funding than other schools and accuses the government of being opaque when it comes to free school budgets.
Mr Lightman will call upon the government to publish spending figures for the next three years for each new free school.
He will say that he wants parents to be able to see how these figures compare to funding for other schools in their neighbourhoods.
His speech will suggest that other nearby schools could be thrown into a downward spiral because of falling pupil numbers and lack of investment.
"Children are not guinea pigs in some educational lab. Schools that have been consigned to the dustbin of our education service in this way cannot be expected to create the conditions which enable them to raise standards.
"No-one in government should be contemplating standing by and watching as some schools fail in order to use it as a lever of change," he will say.
In a statement, the Department for Education (DfE) said: "We cannot continue with a system where thousands of parents are forced to send their child to a school that is either weak or simply isn't right for them.
"Our school reforms will help put this right by creating a system that works for - not against - parents, many of whom live in the poorest parts of the country."
The DfE said that free schools would cost a fraction of schools built under Labour's Building Schools for the Future programme.
At 17:07:07 in EnglandA lorry driver has been convicted of using his 17-tonne truck to murder another motorist.
At 17:05:50 in WalesUnions are to ballot staff at Pembrokeshire council in a vote of no confidence in the chief executive amid a fresh police investigation into unlawful pension salary supplements.
At 17:05:31 in SportSt Helens are hopeful that Luke Walsh will be fit for the start of the 2015 season after confirming the scrum-half broke his fibula against Widnes.
At 17:01:30 in ScotlandGround investigations are to be carried out at a Moray primary school after aerial imagery emerged of a wartime trench on the playing fields.
At 17:00:51 in SportLiverpool have completed the signing of Belgium striker Divock Origi from Lille for £10m.
At 17:00:20 in EnglandLarge lorries without safety equipment could be banned from London's streets under proposals from the city's mayor.
At 17:00:15 in EnglandA British man and four members of the Australia Rebels Motorcycle Club have been arrested over an alleged plot to import drugs worth an estimated £11m (A$20m) into Australia.
At 16:54:47 in SportSouthampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and striker Jay Rodriguez are not for sale and will not be sold, according to chairman Ralph Krueger.
At 16:52:50 in SportBirmingham City boss Lee Clark says they have learnt their lessons from last season's dramatic escape from relegation and are optimistic of having a much better time in 2014-15.
At 16:52:18 in PoliticsThe EU has adopted new economic sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, targeting the oil sector, defence equipment and sensitive technologies, EU sources say.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. ASCL says opening free schools may be waste of money [Online] (Updated 24th Mar 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1418423/ASCL-says-opening-free-schools-may-be-waste-of-money [Accessed 29th Jul 2014]
News In Other Categories
A group representing musicians in the US is suing Ford and General Motors over in-car CD players that allow tracks to be stored on a hard drive.
The EU has adopted new economic sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, targeting the oil sector, defence equipment and sensitive technologies, EU sources say.
Unions are to ballot staff at Pembrokeshire council in a vote of no confidence in the chief executive amid a fresh police investigation into unlawful pension salary supplements.
A lorry driver has been convicted of using his 17-tonne truck to murder another motorist.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's production company, Really Useful Group, is suing the promoter of a cancelled US tour of Jesus Christ Superstar.
St Helens are hopeful that Luke Walsh will be fit for the start of the 2015 season after confirming the scrum-half broke his fibula against Widnes.