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A good foundation?

Discovery New School is the first free school in England to be rated inadequate. Schools inspectorate Ofsted criticised most aspects of Discovery - its supporters argue that inspectors don't understand a different way of working. Free schools were set up by education secretary Michael Gove to allow innovations. The type of education provided by Discovery New School, and chosen by parents, had to be paid for by parents in the past but can now be provided free by the state. Surely this inadequate rating will open a major education debate. With the freedoms on curriculum and staffing given to free schools and academies by the education secretary, can Ofsted adequately reflect education outcomes with a single inspection framework? More importantly, if providers are going to experiment with education philosophy, should that be paid for by the state? Most important is how the children in these schools, who are receiving diverse teaching styles, are being prepared for the next phase of their educational journey.

Clive Ireson, Director (strategy), Association of Christian Teachers.

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