NAO: Free schools fast but pricey

The education department has “achieved clear progress on a policy priority” by opening 174 free schools since 2010, and has used new approaches to deliver “much lower average construction costs than in previous programmes,” according to a National Audit Office report published today.

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By Suzannah.Brecknell

11 Dec 2013

However, the cost of schools is rising as they open in more expensive areas, and as the programme includes more costly Special and Alternative Provision Schools.

NAO chief Amyas Morse said the DfE has “made clear progress by opening 174 schools, many at relatively low cost” and is “improving its approach with each successive wave of proposals but will need to tackle a rising cost trend as the programme continues to grow.”

He also noted that lessons must be learned from “problems that have arisen in a few early wave schools, especially where these have revealed failures in governance and control.”

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