Ministers cut red tape for schools expansion


Measures to make it easier for popular schools to expand and new "free" schools to open were agreed by ministers yesterday. A directive to local authorities made it clear that they should in future back any expansion applications from oversubscribed schools.

In addition, they would told there should be a "presumption" in favour of any planning application to open one of the Government's flagship "free" schools – run by parents, teachers or charities with state aid.

The moves, announced by the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, were made to ensure that plans were not blighted by red tape.

"The Government wants to enable new schools to open, good schools to expand and all schools to adapt and improve their facilities," said the guidance from the Communities and Local Government Department.

"We urgently need more good school places," the Education Secretary Michael Gove said.