The inspection framework applies to Free Schools just as it does to maintained schools.
We expect Free Schools to follow the same model as academies, but are currently reviewing this.
Financial data requirements:
Free Schools - like other charities and limited companies - have to follow certain standard financial requirements, such as preparing an annual financial statement. That does not mean they would normally be required to report on their finances to the Department. The Education Funding Agency (EFA) will keep a check that funding provided to Free Schools is being spent appropriately, for example, through periodic financial management review visits.
Other data reporting requirements:
Free Schools, like other state-funded schools, are covered by the statutory requirements - set out in regulations - on collection of performance data. This relates to provision of information on the Key Stages, ie 2, 3 and 4. Data is also collection on the results of 16- to 18-year-olds and on authorised and unauthorised absences.
As with other academies, Free Schools will be required to comply with core requirements, including delivering Key Stage 2 tests. However, they will be free to choose how to deliver their wider broad and balanced curriculum.
We will work to explore the issues with any high quality providers who may have particular difficulties with national curriculum based tests. Proper accountability for delivering high quality education is a non-negotiable principle.