What are Free Schools and Its Purpose in UK?

What are Free Schools

Education in the United Kingdom has witnessed a significant shift with the introduction of Free Schools. Established in 2010, these state-funded schools operate outside the direct control of local authorities, offering an alternative educational pathway for students. Now, what are free schools?

The concept of Free Schools has ignited debate, with questions surrounding their purpose, effectiveness, and impact on the broader education system. During its establishment, these schools were introduced to empower communities and foster innovation in education.

So, in this comprehensive article, we’ll discuss more about free schools, exploring their origins, objectives, and the impact they’ve had on the educational system.

What are Free Schools?

Free schools are a type of school in the education system that are funded by the government but operate independently. They were introduced in many countries as a way to provide more choice and diversity in education.

Free schools have the freedom to set their curriculum, hire their staff, and have more control over their budget.

One of the main advantages of free schools is that they can offer innovative teaching methods and specialized programs that may not be available in traditional public schools.

This allows parents and students to choose an educational approach that best suits their needs and interests. Additionally, free schools often have smaller class sizes, which can lead to more personalized attention for students.

It’s important to note that while free schools are funded by the government, they still need to meet certain standards and regulations to ensure quality education.

Free schools aim to provide a wider range of options for families when it comes to choosing an educational institution for their children.

What is the purpose of Free Schools?

Free schools serve the purpose of providing parents and students with more choice and diversity in the education system. They are independent, state-funded schools that have the freedom to set their curriculum, hiring practices, and school policies.

This allows them to tailor their approach to education based on the needs and preferences of their local community.

One of its key aims is to increase educational standards by fostering innovation and competition. By having a diverse range of schools to choose from, parents can find an educational environment that aligns with their values and goals for their child’s education.

Additionally, they often have more flexibility in terms of teaching methods and resources, which can lead to more personalized learning experiences for students.

The goal is to empower parents and students with greater control over their education while promoting excellence and diversity within the education system.

How are Free Schools different from other types of schools?

Free schools are a unique type of school that offers a different approach to education compared to other types of schools. One key difference is that they have more freedom and autonomy in terms of their curriculum, teaching methods, and overall structure.

They are often set up by groups of parents, teachers, or community members who want to create a school that reflects their specific educational values and goals.

Another significant difference is the level of accountability. Free schools are still accountable for meeting certain standards and regulations, but they have more flexibility in how they achieve those standards.

They are not bound by the same rules and regulations as traditional public schools, allowing them to be more innovative and responsive to the needs of their students.

In all, free schools provide an alternative option for families who may be looking for a more personalized and flexible education for their children. They strive to create a learning environment that fosters creativity, independence, and critical thinking skills.

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Who can open a Free School?

Anyone can open a free school, as long as they meet the necessary requirements and follow the legal procedures. They are independent, state-funded schools that have more freedom in their curriculum and teaching methods.

You would need to submit an application to the relevant education authority or government department, outlining your plans for the school and demonstrating how it will benefit the community.

The process can be quite involved, requiring careful planning and coordination. It’s important to research and understand the specific regulations and guidelines that apply in your country or region.

Additionally, you may need to gather support from parents, educators, and local stakeholders who share your vision for alternative education. With determination and dedication, anyone with a passion for education can take on the challenge of opening a free school.

Remember this is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires significant time, effort, and resources.

However, if you believe in providing innovative educational opportunities for students in your community, it can be an incredibly rewarding endeavor.

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Are Free Schools selective in admitting students?

Yes, Free Schools in the UK are allowed to be selective in admitting students. Unlike mainstream state schools, they have more control over their admissions policies.

This means they can prioritize certain criteria when considering applications, such as academic ability or proximity to the school.

However, it’s important to note that not all of these schools are selective. Some may choose to have a completely open admissions policy and accept students from all backgrounds and abilities.

The level of selectivity can vary from one to another, so it’s always best to check the specific admission criteria of the school you are interested in.

While some may be selective in admitting students, there are also many that aim to provide equal opportunities for all children in their community.

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Are there any fees associated with attending a Free School?

No, there are typically no fees associated with attending a Free School. The idea is to provide education without any financial burden on the students or their families.

These schools are funded through various means such as government grants, donations, and community support.

The goal is to ensure that education is accessible to all, regardless of their financial background. This means that students can receive a quality education without having to worry about tuition fees or other related expenses.

It’s important to note that while there may not be any fees, there might still be costs associated with textbooks, school supplies, and extracurricular activities.

However, there are programs in place to assist students who may need help covering these additional expenses.

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Are all subjects taught at Free Schools?

No, not all subjects are taught at Free Schools. The school has the freedom to design their own curriculum and teaching methods, which means they can choose which subjects to offer based on their specific goals and values.

While most schools do offer a wide range of subjects similar to traditional schools, some may choose to focus on specific areas such as arts or sciences, while others may prioritize experiential learning or project-based approaches.

The flexibility allows them to tailor their curriculum to the needs and interests of their students, creating a more personalized and engaging learning experience. This can be especially beneficial for students who have unique passions or talents that they want to explore further.

So, if you’re considering enrolling, it’s important to research and find one that aligns with your educational goals and offers the subjects you are interested in studying.

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How do I find a nearby Free School for my child?

Finding a nearby free school for your child can be an exciting journey. Here are a few steps you can take to help you in your search.

First, start by researching online. Use search engines or education websites to find these schools in your area. Look for directories or lists that provide information on schools that offer tuition-free education. These resources often include details about the school’s location, curriculum, and admission process.

Next, reach out to your local community. Ask friends, neighbors, or colleagues if they know of any free schools in the area. They may have personal experiences or recommendations to share with you.

Additionally, consider joining local parenting groups or forums where you can ask for suggestions and advice from other parents who have gone through a similar search.

Finally, contact your local school district or education department. They should be able to provide you with information on any free schools available in your area. They may also be able to guide you through the application process and answer any questions you may have.

FAQs about Free Schools in the UK

Are free schools the same as private schools?

No, they are state-funded and open to all students, whereas private schools charge tuition fees and have selective admission criteria.

Can free schools follow any curriculum they want?

Yes, they have the autonomy to design their curriculum, but it must meet certain standards set by the government.

How are free schools funded?

They receive government funding, similar to other state schools, but they have more control over their budget and resources.

Are free schools accountable for their performance?

Yes, they are held accountable for their academic results and must meet performance targets set by the government.

Can parents get involved in the governance of free schools?

Yes, many free schools encourage parental involvement and may have parent-led governing bodies.

Do free schools have to follow the same rules as other state schools?

They have more autonomy but still must adhere to certain regulations and standards to ensure the quality of education.


Free schools have become a vital component of the UK’s education system, offering innovative approaches to teaching and empowering parents with choices.

Their impact on academic excellence, diversity, and community involvement is undeniable. As we continue to explore and expand the horizons of education, free schools represent the power of choice and innovation in shaping the future of our students and society.



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