Bill Wiggin – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Education

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Bill Wiggin on 2014-05-07.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress he has made on making the process for school leaving local education authority control to become free schools easier.

Mr Edward Timpson

Free schools are a type of academy, established either as new provision or by independent schools joining the state sector. Maintained schools cannot become free schools, but they can convert to become academies, which enjoy broadly the same freedoms as free schools. The Department for Education is continually refining the academy conversion process. Guidance has been shortened, documentation simplified and standardised, including a ‘plain English’ version of the funding agreement, and an online application form introduced in March, saving schools time in submitting information to the department.

The number of converter academies continues to increase, with 2,795 converter academies open as of May 2014.