The general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Dr Mary Bousted has claimed the DfE has "overspent its free schools budget by £1bn".
ATL believes that the cost of setting up these schools is diverting money that is desperately needed by existing schools - the DfE overspent its free schools budget by £1bn and has had to claw that money back from elsewhere in the education system.
We are concerned that more than 20% of free schools have been established in areas where there is no shortage of school places and, since they are not part of the local authorities' planning procedure, they make it difficult for parents to get their child into a local school of their choice.
A Department for Eduation spokesman said: "We have made an additional £5 billion of funding available in this Parliament alone to councils to create new school places - double the amount spent by the previous government over the same period. This is in addition to the budget for free schools."