The paper dwells on how this falls short of the Tories' pre-election rhetoric. And it's true: the original idea was for around 3,000 new schools across nine years. So, 162 schools across three years hardly looks like fluid progress towards that goal.
This needn't be a bad thing, of course. As so often, quality not quantity will determine the lasting success of this reform. But it's still striking that one official should say that:
"The size of the capital budget allocated to the free schools push … will determine whether the government is able to stick to its 220,000 free school places target."
So, after the IDS brouhaha, the coalition might face yet another choice about how much it wants to spend on reform. Time to look for more savings elsewhere, I suppose.