A decade ago the first free schools opened with fanfare and a promise to transform England’s education system. But it hasn’t quite turned out that way
Ten years ago this month, Mark Lehain, a former headteacher, was feeling deflated. His attempt to become one of the first free school leaders after the election of the coalition government had just been put on hold.
“We had lots of support, but we couldn’t secure the site in time, so people were applying for a school that didn’t exist,” he recalls. To cap it all he had to spend the evening of the decision at a protest meeting about the proposed new school to which, he says, opponents had been bussed in from all over England.