They seem to have a large number of parents interested in attending at least part-time too!
Interesting; some of the Muslim home schooling families who we know are also hoping to go down that route, although I don't think that many of the initial plans will actually result in functioning schools. I think to be viable, the free schools need a core of really committed activists to do all the hard work, and many HE families are already stretched in actually home educating their own children. I noticed that most of the current applications are from organisations and religious groups, where presumably there are people either with more time or a longer term commitment to do the ground work.Incidentally, the comments in that local paper were pretty negative!
I see free schools as an interesting experiment. If they manage to set up and thrive, producing good results with little or no regulation from central government, merely pressure from parents, then it does rather upset the education bandwagon. If they do well on initial launch and then lose their way as the founding parents move on when their children leave then it will highlight the need for something else to provide that pressure, as well as showing that highly-motivated parents are capable of providing for their children.From a selfish viewpoint, I can see that being registered with a free school that is very flexible about attendance (flexi-schooling) is one way that home educators could get the state to fund exam fees but as ever, it depends on what strings get attached to the experiment. If there are too many, it'll fail as it trips over the red tape and end up as an expensive way of perpetuating the present system.
"If they manage to set up and thrive, producing good results with little or no regulation from central government,"The government still intend to set required outcomes and the schools will be OFSTEDed so if you want different outcomes for your children than those selected by the state, forget it.
Simon - It turns out that this is a proposed Steiner (Waldorf) school. Although I don't think the parents involved have much idea what a Steiner school is.http://www.witneygazette.co.uk/news/8763527._Free_school__eyes_up_farm_museum_site_as_base/There are over 20 Steiner schools and initiatives in England interested in Free Schools funding.