Education Secretary Michael Gove plans to rush through new applications for free schools in the run-up to the general election next year, Tristram Hunt has claimed.
Labour’s shadow Education Secretary was speaking at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) conference in Manchester, where teachers claimed England’s state school system was being destroyed by “corporate greed” through the controversial free schools and academies programme.
Mr Hunt said the present approach was based on “a political programme of pile them high and get them out of the trap. It doesn’t much matter who’s setting them up.”
He added: “The fear is that as the year progresses and the imminent prospect of defeat becomes a certainty [for the Conservatives], they will throw in as many as possible.”
Mark Baker, senior vice-president of ATL, said: “Our world-class education system... is being destroyed. The free school mantra of allowing parents the opportunity to set up locally run neighbourhood schools is a lie. Most are being established and run by academy chains.”
A Department for Education spokesman said: “No individual or organisation with an ongoing relationship to an academy or free school can make a profit.”