Eight free schools in England are close to final approval

Eight groups are now at the final stages of approval to open free schools in England.

Four of the proposed schools are due to open in London and the others are planned for Suffolk, West Sussex, Norwich and Leicester.

Education Secretary Michael Gove is to make the announcement at a free schools conference in London.

He wants all new schools to be free schools or academies – state-funded but outside local council control.

There have been 249 proposals put forward by groups keen to set up a free school.

Most of those are in the early stages of approval.

Thirty-five have been given at least initial approval and have been developing their full business case and plan.

Until now, only one school was known to have reached what the government calls the “pre-opening stage” – meaning their business case has been approved.

That was the Stour Valley Community School in Suffolk, which was approved earlier this month. It grew out of a campaign by parents to save a school and the scheme is now being led by community leaders.

Now seven more plans have been added to the list. Some of these schools will be faith-based; some are proposed by existing academy sponsors and one is teacher-led. – Bbcnews