It is quite possible that the entire Free Schools movement could grind to a halt after 2015, depending on which way the election goes. Defenders of state schools and comprehensive education have been putting pressure on the Labour Party in particular to declare its hand and rule out any prospect of allowing schools to run for a profit or the approval of any more Free Schools. Many have argued for bringing them all quickly back into the regulated government sector, placing them under local authorities, or imposing some kind of democratic control.
In his recent speech, which you can read about here, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls indicated that he might simply turn off the tap. As we’ve noted before on this site, Free Schools are comparatively expensive to set up and take a disproportionate share of the funding pot available for education. Because they are the product of an effective conspiracy between vocal and well-resourced private organisations and a government bent on destroying public services, very frequently they are not set up or built where the need is greatest. For this reason, it seems, Ed Balls has indicated that he might not fund any future Free Schools.
We’ve urged everyone who wants to ensure that the real issues of school supply in Waltham Forest are really tackled to get behind a solution that puts the maximum pressure on schools, local government and central government to provide this supply through expansion of our existing schools. It looks possible that Labour are thinking along similar lines.