Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that more than 100 new free schools have been approved to open in England over the coming years. This brings to almost 200 the total number of the new-style primary and secondary schools, which are state-funded but operate independent of local authorities. That is, free schools are established by groups that include parents, teachers, faith-based organizations, and charities and have powers to decide how they spend their budgets and how they set their curriculum, teaching hours, and term-times.
Teaching unions have stated that free schools adversely affect neighboring schools when they open in areas with no shortage of spaces. The Department for Education said, however, that 88% of the newly approved primaries are in areas with a shortfall of places and 63% in areas with severe needs for more places.