Academies

New Schools Network launches ‘innovation fund’ to spend £650k reserves

Closing charity seeks applications from schools and trusts that aim to end educational inequality

Closing charity seeks applications from schools and trusts that aim to end educational inequality

Former free school support charity the New Schools Network has launched a £650,000 fund to support “innovative thinking and activity” in education.

The organisation will use the fund to distribute its remaining reserves funding, which does not include money from Department for Education grants.

The NSN’s board of trustees said in May that they would wind down the charity’s operations after 13 years of existence.

It comes after the charity lost its government contract to support free schools to Premier Advisory Group following a re-tendering process. They had held the contract since 2010.

Today it announced that its new fund will support free schools and academy trusts “that share NSN’s commitment to ending educational inequality once and for all”.

The charity will still close once the funds are distributed.

The innovation fund will open to applications from this autumn. It is not known how many funding rounds it will hold.

NSN seeks schools breaking ‘barriers of disadvantage’

The charity said it was “particularly interested” in supporting recipients that break the “barriers of disadvantage” and those that work to ensure every child can access an excellent education regardless of background.

They also want to hear from schools and trusts promoting “high impact educational innovation, particularly targeted in left behind communities in England”.

David Ross, the founder of Carphone Warehouse who chairs NSN, said the organisation had a “proud history of advocating for educational equality, for a system in which every child can attend a good school, and in supporting innovation to achieve this goal”.

“I am delighted that the board of trustees has taken the decision to make available a brand new fund that will support those who wish to continue this work. 

“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that innovative thinking and new ways of doing things are encouraged, so that every child in every community genuinely has the best possible start in life.”

The charity said more details would be made available “in the coming months”, with application criteria still being finalised. Interested free schools and academy trusts should can provide their details online.

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