Government response

Lord Hill responds to letter in 'The Guardian' regarding free schools and academies

Schools minister corrects claims that free schools and academies are not covered by FOI legislation, and responds to opinion put forward by a group of professors in 'The Guardian'.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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Sir

The professors writing in your paper yesterday (‘Gove should delay creating more academies and free schools’) stated that free schools and academies will be not covered by Freedom of Information legislation. They are wrong. The Academies Act that passed into law in July extends FOI to all academies and free schools.

I agree about the need to avoid a two-tier system but they fail to recognise that it already exists. Just 27% of pupils on free school meals get 5 good GCSE grades, compared to 54% of non-free school meal pupils. Academies are helping to raise standards and aspiration in some of the poorest parts of the country. Our academy and free school proposals will give poorer parents the choices that richer parents have always had. The pupil premium will benefit poorer pupils, providing extra money directly for those pupils who need it the most.

Rather than delay, we need to spread the benefits of academy status as fast as possible.

Yours

Lord Hill, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools

Published 16 September 2010