Academies and Free Schools

Academies and Free Schools Including Project Management & Educational Support

Academies are publicly funded independent schools, free from local authority and national government control. Other freedoms include setting their own pay and conditions for staff, freedoms concerning the delivery of the curriculum, and the ability to change the length of their terms and school days.  The 2010 Academies Act opened up the Academies programme, enabling primary, secondary and for the first time special schools to apply to become Academies to help them innovate and raise standards. The Free Schools programme is a new route to set up Academies. Free Schools are all-ability state-funded schools with Academy status, set up in response to parental and community demand. These changes will enable teachers and head-teachers, rather than politicians and bureaucrats, to take control of their schools. The extended Academy freedoms will give heads more power to tackle disruptive children, to protect and reward teachers better, and to give children the specialist teaching they need.  There are different types of Academies projects that will require different levels of support.

The Free Schools Programme

Free Schools are all-ability, state-funded schools with Academy status, set up in response to parental and community demand. Free Schools will enable parents and teachers to create schools and improve standards for all children, regardless of their background.  These Academies could be schools for children of any age between 5yrs – 18yrs and could offer either mainstream, special or alternative provision.  Free school proposers come from a wide range of backgrounds and could include parent groups, teacher groups, education charities, local business interests – in fact anyone who is concerned about education in their local area. The New Schools Network provides advice and support to proposers in shaping their ideas before submitting a proposal form to the Secretary of State.  Following proposal approval, proposers develop and submit a detailed business case and funding agreement to the Secretary of State.  Then once the business case is approved and funding agreement signed, proposers can prepare for the opening of their Academy. 

Departmental funding is available to Free School proposers to provide delivery support in the business case and pre-opening stages.  The new Department for Education Framework will offer support for these stages.  Free School proposers may identify areas of work which they themselves wish to deliver or procure and suppliers will need to work closely with them to ensure effective overall delivery.

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