Rachel Wolf is Director of the New Schools Network, the national charity which supports Free Schools and helps groups set them up.
Over the next fortnight a genuinely new policy – one which has faced sustained opposition and attack – is being implemented across the country. For the first time 24 ‘Free Schools’ will open, paving the way for hundreds more in the next few years. This change will radically improve the opportunities for huge numbers of families.
The importance of this, just one year into a new government, should not be underestimated. Anyone interested in British politics will know that change is invariably promised, but rarely delivered. Despite dozens of think tank publications and endless visionary speeches, the real world - a world of compromise – intrudes. Policies get watered down, vested interests take hold, and change vanishes. Not this time.
Inspired by the success of the Charter School movement in the US, Free Schools take power away from politicians and put it in the hands of parents. They offer parents greater choice and give freedom to teachers to run schools as they see fit.