About free schools

Free schools, once established, are essentially the same as an Academy. We operate independently of the Local Authority and are regulated and funded by Central Government.

In many ways, Mariposa Primary School is part of the family of Harrow primary schools. We are inclusive and open to all. We follow the Government’s admissions code and our children will need to sit the same tests as any other in the state sector. We are also inspected by OFSTED.

We only employ class teachers who have the same level of qualifications as any other state school, we recognise the Teachers’ Unions and ensure our pay and conditions of work are in line with their agreed standards.

Our differences come from some of the freedoms we’re allowed.

Free schools don’t have to follow the National Curriculum. We have chosen to map our curriculum to the National Curriculum, to give parents peace of mind and to allow children to move between schools easily. However, we aren’t delivering the National Curriculum in the normal way, instead choosing to teach it thematically and with termly project-based-learning fortnights (our ‘Challenge Weeks’).

Free schools are also free to set their own term dates. In response to parents frustrations about the difficulties of only taking holidays during the usual school breaks, we are offering a degree of flexibility.

But the main differences between free schools and either Academies or Local Authority schools is how we’ve been set up. Free schools are set up by groups applying directly to The Department for Education for permission and funding. We are being set up by a group of local parents and teachers, in response to a worrying shortage of school places in Harrow. They started by asking local parents and teachers what they would like to see in ‘their dream school’. From this, they crafted the vision and offer for our school. We are an inclusive, grassroots partnership, set up in response to the concerns and wishes of Harrow parents.

You won’t find another school quite like ours anywhere!


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