Angela Rayner slams the government for spending millions on free schools ‘behind closed doors’

Angela Rayner
Support us and go ad-free

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has slammed the Department for Education for ‘unaccountability’ after it spent millions on free schools “behind closed doors”. The department has set aside millions of pounds for a property company to find sites for free schools. But it did so before the company officially even existed.

£2.6m was allocated for LocatED for the financial year ending in April 2017. But the government didn’t announce it was going to start the company until 28 March 2017.

Meanwhile, schools are under increasing pressure. Headteachers have been forced to cut school councillors and teaching assistant jobs. Other schools are having to write begging letters to parents for basic supplies.

Free schools

Free schools have come under criticism after the National Union of Teachers revealed data that £138.5m had been wasted on new schools that either didn’t open, closed down, or partially closed.

There was further controversy as the Department for Education was forced to admit that 150 of the sites it was buying for free schools would only be temporary; and that these sites were likely to cost, on average, £500,000 each.

Millions of pounds are being poured into a property company with the aim of finding sites for the schools. Angela Rayner criticised the decision:

Once again this government’s unaccountable free-schools regime is raising serious questions about how public money is being spent.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Millions were spent behind closed doors, before the policy was even made public, and the government are not even able to say how much would have been spent on land acquisitions without LocatED being set up.

Overpaying for land is a major problem in the government’s inefficient free-schools programme, and now they appear to be spending millions more on a company to buy the land, without being upfront with the taxpayer about it.

Government response

A spokesperson for the Department for Education claimed:

LocatED is saving the taxpayer money by providing the commercial and property market expertise to secure sites more quickly and at better value.

We are committed to an ambitious free-schools programme that delivers choice, innovation, and higher standards for parents. Since 2010, we have opened more than 400 new free schools, which will provide over 234,000 places when at capacity. We know that these schools are popular with parents, with 84 per cent rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

Schools in crisis

Schools across the country are facing a funding crisis. Earlier in the year, headteachers from thousands of schools took the unprecedented step of writing to parents about the scale of the cuts they are facing.

Against this backdrop, the millions of pounds being spent on free schools need to be seriously questioned. This government has run the education system into the ground. And we all need to speak out – because our schools, teachers, and children deserve better.

Get Involved!

– Support the campaign to protect children’s education.

Featured image via Wikimedia

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed