The first wave of newly-approved free schools announced this Parliament will consist of 18 new institutions, David Cameron has announced.
The Prime Minister said the 18 new schools will create 9,000 new places. Two rounds of schools will be announced per year between now and the end of the Parliament in 2020 in a bid to deliver the government’s election pledge of 500 new free schools.
The quantity of schools is lower than the 49 announced in March, but Mr Cameron has vowed not to “waver” from his target.
It is expected that in a speech today he will say that every family “should have access to a great local school” and describe free schools as a “crucial part of that aim”, adding: “The aim of this policy is crystal clear – to increase the number of good and outstanding school places so that more parents have the security of knowing their child is getting a great education.”
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said the free schools programme had “sent out the message loud and clear” that parents should “never have to settle for anything less than the best for their child”.
Analysis of Ofsted inspection outcomes data for the 254 open free schools by former Schools Week reporter Philip Nye shows that of the 136 which have been inspected so far, 34 are outstanding, 72 are good, 24 are said to require improvement and six are inadequate.
The announcement has been criticised by the National Union of Teachers, which has been among the fiercest critics of the free schools programme.
General secretary Christine Blower said: “The government seems determined to start the new school term in the manner in which it concluded the last – peddling a series of untruths and misrepresentations about the ideological academy and free school programme.
“The Prime Minister says he will ‘not waver’. This is despite the growing body of evidence that the government is pursuing the wrong policies whilst ignoring the very real challenges facing schools.”
The latest wave of approved free school applications is as follows…
Opening September 2016
– Rugby Free Secondary School, Warwickshire. 1,260 places for 11 to 19-year-olds. Set up by Knowledge School Trust.
Opening September 2017
– John Donne Primary Free School, Peckham, London. Almost 500 spaces (including 60 at nursery). Set up by the John Donne Primary School (JDPS).
– Catch22 Northamptonshire Academy, Northampton. 100 alternative provision places for struggling four to 16-year-olds. Set up by Catch22 Multi-Academy Trust.
– Corby Free Special School, Northamptonshire. Up to 100 places. Set up by the Maplefields Teaching School Alliance.
– The Swan School, Oxford. 880 places. Set up by Cherwell School.
– Piper Hill Vocational Learning Free School, Wythenshawe, Cheshire. 25 places for 11 to 19-year-olds with severe learning difficulties and autism spectrum disorder. Set up by The Piper Hill Learning Trust.
– Bury St Edmunds Technical Academy, Suffolk. Set up by the Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust.
– Saint Anne’s High School for Girls, Luton, Bedfordshire. 750 places for secondary school-age pupils. Set up by a group of local teachers.
– XP East, Doncaster, South Yorkshire. 350 places for secondary school-age pupils. Set up by the XP Schools Trust.
– Solihull Alternative Provision Academy, Solihull, West Midlands. 90 places for pupils currently “disengaged with education”. Set up by three headteachers from the local area.
– Lime Tree High School, Reigate, Surrey. 900 places for secondary school-age pupils. Set up by the Glyn School.
– CAPA College, Leeds. Specialist performing arts college. Set up by the Wakefield Diocesan Academies Trust.
– Gipsy Hill Secondary School, Lambeth, London. 1,600 places. Run by the Gipsy Hill Federation.
– MacIntyre Special Free School, Rugby, Warwickshire. 80 places for nine to 19-year-olds with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties and conditions on the autistic spectrum. Set up by MacIntyre Academies Trust.
– The Bridge AP Free School, Medway, Kent. 40 places for five to 11-year-olds with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties in Medway. Set up by the Delce Academy Trust.
– Norton Hill Primary School, Midsomer Norton, Somerset. 420 places for four to 11-year-olds. Set up by the Midsomer Norton Schools Partnership.
– Herts International Christian School, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. 630 places for four to 11-year-olds specialising in Spanish from the primary phase.
– Yavneh Primary School, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. Jewish faith school. 420 places. Set up by the Yavneh College Academy Trust.
Pic: Crown Copyright/Arron Hoare