What is refreshing about these two schools is that most of the marketing and subsequent media coverage has been positive. The schools have both set out an interesting vision for their own brand of education. Despite having no students and in the case of the New College, no agreed location, they have a clear idea of what will be offered, who the school is for and what they will produce.
The evidence to date is that schools that market themselves this way are likely to be successful. Whatever you may think of Toby Young's views, his West London Free School was always very clear from the start about what it would be like and he (and the staff) have stuck to their guns throughout.
The free schools that haven't worked well so far are much blander. Beccles Free School for example, produced a series of bland adverts which could have been used by any existing state school. They were told off for using the word 'outstanding' in marketing materials by the Advertising Standards Authority because it implied they'd had an OFSTED inspection. I still can't seen much of a vision in their communications today.
So - if you're opening a free school - or if you're in competition with one - what is your vision? Is it shared? How is it shown in everything you communicate?