Does the government really want innovation in free schools?

Innovation Unit are committed to the scale and diffusion on innovation in education, and we have worked with a variety of stakeholders to trial new and exciting educational methods in the UK. We're concerned that while Gove's free school programme has the capacity in theory to enable innovative new models of learning, in reality it is inhibiting truly innovative schools from making the cut. We conducted research with various unsuccessful applicants to find out.

Through researching failed applicants from this and last years bids, we found that there were some really progressive and exciting free school proposals that weren't making it through, and we wanted to speak to them to find out more about their experiences.

Themes began to emerge that parent and community led free schools, supposedly the key demographics for free school bids, were at a significant disadvantage in the process compared to schools which had the financial backing of large providers and academy chains.

It also appeared that schools which transgressed too heavily from the traditional model of school were unlikely to get through the final stages. 

We worked with The Guardian to produce this article, written by Rachel Williams, which highlights some of the most innovative examples of free school bids which had not made the cut.

You can read the full article here.