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Free Schools in England: ‘Not Unlike other Schools’?

Wiborg, Susanne, Green, Francis, Taylor-Gooby, Peter, Wilde, Rachel J. (2018) Free Schools in England: ‘Not Unlike other Schools’? Journal of Social Policy, 47 (1). pp. 119-137. ISSN 0047-2794. E-ISSN 1469-7823. (doi:10.1017/S004727941700023X) (KAR id:62102)


The aim of this article is to investigate the argument that choice and competition will unleash entrepreneurial innovation in free schools. Free schools were introduced as a subset of the Academies by the Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition government, following the general election in 2010. The government made it possible for non-state providers to set up their own independent, state-funded schools in order to create more choice, competition and innovation. We conclude that a higher level of substantive innovation is taking place in regards to management practices than in respect of curriculum and pedagogical practices. Innovation in curriculum and pedagogical practices is very limited. Creating a free school offer that seems to differ from other schools appears to be done through marketing and branding rather than innovation. We argue that parents, OFSTED, and the relative isolation of free schools constrain innovation from taking place.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S004727941700023X
Subjects: L Education
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Peter Taylor-Gooby
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2017 14:27 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 06:30 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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