A new school
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First free schools open in England

A total of 24 free schools will open their doors for the first time this week, as part of the government policy to allow parents, teachers and other groups to set up schools in England.

The semi-independent schools are paid for by the state rather than local authorities, giving increased control over the curriculum, teachers' pay and opening hours.

Supporters say they will provide real choice for parents but critics say they are expensive and divisive.

Reeta Chakrabarti reports.