While the idea of free schools was marketed by the government as meaning “parent-run” schools, in reality the vast majority of parents will not have the time or expertise to actually run these new schools. In practice, any group of people forming the steering committee for a new free school will engage the services of a school-management provider toadvise them and carry out the day-to-day running the school.
Consequently we can see an emerging market of service providers from both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. And these providers are not just limited to free schools and academies. Local authorities now find themselves in the position of no longer being sufficiently staffed or funded to provide some services themselves, meaning that ordinary community schools now seek these from the private sector.
As an extension of this market, we are also seeing entrepreneurial schools sharing their services with others, either by selling them or seeking to federate with others to spread their influence and expertise.