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New Brighton free school opens
The chairwoman of a school trust in Brighton has welcomed the Government’s announcement that twice as many new free schools will start the new term this week compared to last year, as 55 open their doors for the first time.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said he hoped the new schools would be “equally successful” as the 24 which launched last September.
But he has faced criticism after some free schools supposed to open this week failed over the summer.
Marina Gutierrez, chairwoman of the Bilingual Primary School Trust in Brighton, said: “I am delighted that this project has now become a reality and that Brighton and Hove’s children will have bilingualism as an educational choice.”
But speaking on the Sky News Murnaghan programme, shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: “Some of the free schools opening are fully subscribed, they will be brilliant, successful schools and I wish them well.
Problem “A number of local authorities have recognised the only way to get money from this Government for a new school is to have a free school.
“You’ve innovative teachers and headteachers opening free schools – I applaud all of that. But the problem we have got is the Government puts all of its eggs in the basket of free schools, so when they fail it is a waste of public money.
“The programme is not being tailored to those parts of the country that most need additional school places.”
The list of 55 free schools opening this week includes primary and secondary schools, establishments which cater for pupils through their schooling, and two schools which cater for pupils to the age of 19.
Twelve have been set up by teachers, 19 by parent or community groups, nine by charities and 13 are set up by existing education providers. Two existing independent schools will join the state sector as free schools.
The Department for Education said 25 of the 55 schools are located in the most deprived 25% of communities in the country and 33 are in areas where there is need for more school places.
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