Nursery schools barred from free schools status

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Nursery schools will not be part of the free schools programme, which was outlined by education secretary Michael Gove last week.

Under the proposals, teachers, parents, charities and community groups will be allowed to start their own schools with Government funding.

However, the guidance states that groups will not be able to establish a stand-alone nursery free school because the independent school standards, which all free schools must meet, require that independent schools have at least five children over the age of five.

However, it appears this would not preclude free schools from setting up as primary schools and running nursery classes.

The Government has awarded the New Schools Network initial funding of £500,000 to help the groups who want to start schools with the application process.

All applicants for new schools will be checked for their suitability to run a school and subject to CRB checks. Free schools will have the same legal requirements as academies. Existing maintained schools can apply to become academies. Independent schools can apply to become state-funded independent schools.

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