4/5 - give schools freedom from government control, with accountability to parents

Shortly before the last General Election, the TaxPayers’ Alliance produced a manifesto. Here is the latest in our series of posts looking at how the Coalition Government has performed in relation to our recommendations.

The full TaxPayers' Alliance manifesto can be found hereClick here to see the full series of posts.

The optimistic zeal of the first year of coalition may now be lost but its effects are still being felt. The Academies Act, passed in the first 100 days of government, has increased the number of academies from around 200 to over 4,000. More rigorous qualifications are renewing employer confidence and University Technical Colleges are offering an alternative for those who do not wish to go to university.

However the most notable achievement in terms of increasing school choice has been the establishment of over 200 Free Schools. By allowing parents, teachers, or other interested parties to set up new schools in competition to the existing provision, parents at last have a real say over the nature and type of education in their area, typically areas of need or deprivation. Additionally, there are already more Free Schools after 5 years of coalition than there were academies after 13 years of the previous administration.

Despite these great gains there is still more to do, especially on transparency and greater choice for parents. Schools need to publish more data, especially on how their pupil premium money is spent. This will allow best practice to be shared more effectively and wasteful or ineffective spending to be identified.