More than 700 groups say they are interested in starting a "free school" in England - half are made up of teachers. Groups can apply from today to set up a new "state-funded independent school". The government has set out what groups will need to do to get approval.
Education Secretary Michael Gove says the scheme will drive up standards, but critics say it will cause chaos at a local level and other schools will lose out. He believes "free schools" are a way of raising achievement in areas where local authority-run schools are not providing a good quality education.
The main aim is to close the attainment gap between rich and poor and teachers have been attracted to the scheme. The free schools policy is similar to the charter schools system in the USA and one run in Sweden.