Nearly 40 free schools that opened between three and eight years ago are still waiting for a permanent home, figures reveal.
The figures, provided by the Department for Education in a Freedom of Information request, reveal that 38 of the free schools that opened between 2011-12 and 2016-17 are in temporary accommodation.
The FOI, submitted by Janet Downs of Local Schools Network, asked which schools that had opened in that period were still without permanent buildings.
As well as the 38 schools that were still in temporary accommodation, a further two had started in a permanent home but had since expanded into buildings that were only temporary.
Concerns have previously been raised about the number of free schools operating from temporary sites, with the chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier, calling it "the next scandal".
In a response to the FOI, the DfE stated that, at present, there are “507 free schools, 48 university technical colleges and 24 studio schools, which will provide over 320,000 places when at capacity".
It added: “The timescales for the free schools process and the length of time it takes to identify, acquire and adapt the right site can mean that it is necessary for a school to open in temporary accommodation."
The DfE noted that when schools did open in temporary accommodation, it ensured they provided value for money and were “safe and suitable” for educational purposes.
“We always endeavour to minimise the amount of time that any project spends in temporary accommodation,” the department said.
Tes has previously reported on how the DfE could waste £75 million on temporary school sites for free schools – information that the department tried to suppress.
The free schools that remain in temporary accommodation are:
- Abacus Belsize Primary School
- Big Creative Academy
- Bray wick Court School
- Canary Wharf College 3
- Compass School Southwark
- Deer Park School
- Ealing Fields High School
- Earl's Court Free School Primary
- East London Science School
- Forest Bridge School
- INSPIRE Free Special School
- International Academy of Greenwich
- Kingston Community School
- Nanaskar Primary School
- Oasis Academy Silvertown
- Olive School, Preston
- One Degree Academy
- Paxton Academy Sports and Science
- Rugby Free Secondary School
- Seva School
- St Andrew the Apostle Greek Orthodox School
- TBAP 16-19 Academic AP Academy
- The Charter School East Dulwich
- The Fulham Boys School
- The Gatwick School
- The Heights Primary School
- The Olive School Hackney
- The Olive School, Birmingham
- The Olive School, Bolton
- The Orchards
- The Royal School, Wolverhampton
- The Spires Academy
- The St Marylebone Church of England Bridge School
- Turing House School
- Ventures’ Academy
- Wac Arts College
- Walsall Studio School
- Wootton Park School