Department for Education turned down 14 Brethren applications to open free schools

The Christian group has made a number of applications through its schools umbrella group, the Focus Learning Trust

Department for Education
Department for Education

The Plymouth Brethren have made 14 unsuccessful applications to open free schools in the past two years, according to information released last week by the Department for Education.

The DfE released information, including the name of each school and the local authority areas involved, about three 'waves' of applications.

For the unsuccessful applications in the past two waves, which included 517 schools in total, it also revealed the religious designation each school would have had if the application had been successful. Before now, the government has published details only of those applications that have been successful.

The information was released after requests were made under the Freedom of Information Act by The Guardian, the British Humanist Association and the Association of Colleges. The DfE initially refused to release information on the grounds that it might be harmful to applicants, but was overruled by the Information Commissioner's Office.

The Plymouth Brethren, who adhere to a doctrine of separation from the rest of society, run about 40 schools in the UK, largely funded by voluntary donations from individuals. It is understood that about £30m a year is needed to fund these schools.

A spokesman for the Brethren said several applications had been made by the Focus Learning Trust, the umbrella group for Brethren schools, but no approvals have been gained so far. 

"The free school programme is very interesting and has great potential for extending the great education offered by Focus Learning Trust schools," he said.

The Brethren last year appealed to the charity tribunal against the Charity Commission’s decision to refuse charitable status to the Preston Down Trust, one of its congregations in Devon.

The hearing, originally planned for March, has been put on hold for three months so that options other than a legal hearing can be explored, after the Brethren expressed concerns about the potential cost of the case.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Latest Jobs

Forthcoming Events

Fundraising: Strategy and management skills (management level)

  • Wed 3 Sep 2014
  • London

Preparing for Sorp 2015

  • Wed 3 Sep 2014
  • London

Developing a fundraising strategy

  • Thu 4 Sep 2014 - Fri 5 Sep 2014
  • London
RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Markel

Expert Hub

Advice on risk from a specialist insurer

How to reduce theft at your charity

Maximising security on your premises, using deterrents such as SmartWater and ensuring computer systems are secure can all prevent a theft occuring, says Wendy Cotton, a charity insurance expert at Markel

Renting a property: how to minimise the risks

Managing the risks that come with renting a property can make the difference between a charity thriving or failing

Download the Third Sector iPad edition