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Hi Nick

As you know, free schools receive all the funding they need and it comes from central government, which of course means less strain on Barnet council's budget, therefore doesn't affect other local services - which is a good thing. Assistance with finding suitable sites for free schools can be given both by the council and the central department.

To be fair on the article, the proposed CofE school will offer a full national curriculum for children and the intake is for children of all faiths and none. Regarding the second free school proposal in the article,, the International Baccalaureate curriculum is offered, which many believe is superior to the UK national curriculum (in fact the government was going to copy it with their English Baccalaureate certificate) although it will also be aligned with the UK national curriculum.

Free schools are not a patch on a problem and they are all subject to full Ofsted inspections to ensure that standards are met. The free school program is making use of local teaching and management expertise and allowing schools to be started more quickly.

The issue is that with the increasing demand for pupil places more schools are needed of all kinds and which meet the needs of the local community.