Gove welcomes first 'free school' applicants

18th June 2010 at 01:00

The government opened its doors today to the first wave of parent groups, charities and teachers who hope to set up their own schools under the controversial "free schools" model.

Education Secretary Michael Gove kicked off the application process for groups that want to create their own schools free from local authority control.

The movement, which has been steadfastly championed by Mr Gove and is based on similar models used in Sweden and the United States, has been portrayed by the Conservatives as the "great school revolution" and formed a significant part of the Tories' "Big Society" manifesto.

The Department for Education has set out the criteria that groups will be expected to adhere to if they are to successfully open their own school.

At the time of going to press, it was understood that under the criteria, individual schools will not be allowed to teach any kind of extremism, they will have to show how they intend to strive for educational excellence and will be subject to current accountability measures, such as Ofsted inspections and league tables.

Under the rules, groups will not have to demonstrate a shortage of school places but instead show that there is demand in the community for the type of school they want to create.

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