More than 100 free schools operating in temporary buildings

Labour has criticised the government’s flagship free schools policy after figures revealed that children in more than 100 free schools are taking lessons in temporary buildings.

Speaking to the Guardian, Shadow Schools Minister Mike Kane accused the government of ’failing’ pupils and their families. He said: “Their flagship policies are failing, and children and parents are paying the price.

“Time and again ministers fixate on the name above the door rather than ensuring schools have the resources and teachers in the classroom to deliver an excellent education for all.

“Their free school failure means children in unsuitable temporary classrooms disrupting their education and threatening school standards.”

Figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show that around one in four of England’s free schools do not have a permanent home, while around half have been in temporary buildings at some point.

Responding to Kane’s accusations, a DfE spokesperson said: “In some cases, particularly in cities where property prices are at a premium, it can take time to secure a permanent, high-quality site that meets the needs of the school and provides value for the taxpayer.

“We are taking a number of steps to streamline the process for acquiring permanent sites, including the establishment of LocatED – a new public body with property expertise that will be responsible for securing free school sites quickly and more efficiently.”

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