‘Free schools’ were controversial when introduced by the 2010 coalition.
They allowed any individual or group to apply to government to set one up outside the ‘council maintained’ system.
Having a free school for permanently excluded pupils to study right up to year 11 – with potential freedoms on intake, staff pay and catchment area – is potentially even more controversial.
The new Solihull Academy is also stems from funding cuts to council budgets – pupil referral units can double per pupil as other schools – and high exclusion rates in Solihull.
With no way back into mainstream education, its pupils could be stigmatised.
Let’s hope the new school can inspire, while borough exclusions fall.