The education secretary has today announced the next 22 free schools that will open under the government’s flagship policy – but just one has been founded by a parent group.
Prominent academy trusts such as Harris and Dixons feature on the list of founders who will open new schools, along with two universities and a number of smaller academy trusts that already lead outstanding schools.
A statement from the government said that it had “revised the application process” to encourage more applications from high-performing trusts.
Only one parent group – the Fair Access Trust – will open a school. The parents joined together after their children failed to receive a place in any of their top five choices. They have now been granted permission to open Roundhay Park Primary School, in the Roundhay area of Leeds.
Launching the latest round of free schools, Ms Morgan said the programme was offering “a rigorous education in communities which have never before had the opportunity of a good local school”.
She added: “Parents are flocking to them in their droves – and today’s announcement means that over 18,000 more children can benefit from a place in a free school.”
But Ms Morgan’s unbridled enthusiasm is not shared across the education sector.
Becky Francis, professor of education at Kings College London, warned that exploration of the quality of provision and outcomes for pupils was “urgently needed”.
Ms Francis, a key adviser to the House of Commons education committee, said that, given changes in the programme over time, it was important to investigate whether free schools were “distinctive from other schools in either content or origin”.
She added: “Evaluations remain difficult at the stage as few have been open long enough to produce attainment data.”
Two schools will be opened by David Livingstone, the co-founder of Games Workship and creater of Tomb Raider, in collaboration with Aspirations Academies Trust.
He said the schools will “embed digital creativity” in future generations and called on other “digital entrepreneurs” to “seize the opportunity offered by the free schools programme in helping to give children an authentic education for the jobs and opportunities of the digital world.”
The 22 new free schools
Livingstone Academy East London, Tower Hamlets
To be set up in Aldgate by Games Workshop co-founder and Tomb Raider creator Ian Livingstone, working with Aspirations Academies Trust. 1,570 places for 4 to 19-year-olds. Focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics subjects, with computer science at its core.
Green Spring New School, East London
The Green Spring Education Trust, which already runs the over-subscribed Bethnal Green Academy, will provide 1,100 spaces for 11 to 19-year-olds at its new school. It will offer an “aspirational curriculum” in a “supportive and challenging environment”, with highlights including Latin, philosophy and ethics.
Harris Aspire Sixth Form, Croydon
The prominent Harris Federation will open its latest venture for 230 16 to 19-year-olds on the same site as Harris Aspire Academy, offering vocational courses and GCSE retakes and aiming to help pupils build on core skills in maths, English and science.
Sutton New School 2, Sutton
56 places for 11 to 19-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will be provided at this new school planned by the Greenshaw Learning Trust. It will be closely linked with the trust’s base at Green Wrythe Primary School.
Hujjat Primary School, Harrow
An Islamic faith school operated by the Hujjat School Trust and supported by a number of local schools and the Floreat Education Academies Trust, this school will provide 420 places for 4 to 11-year-olds.
Haberdashers’ Aske’s Borough Academy, Southwark
The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation, which already runs two ‘outstanding’ schools, will open the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Borough Academy to provide up to 1,150 places for 11 to 18-year-olds in Southwark. The trust has pledged to teach a “rich and varied academic curriculum with a strong focus on English, maths and science”.
Wren Academy, Enfield
The Wren Academy is to provide 1,600 places for 11 to 18-year-olds in Enfield. It will be a new Christian school and will offer the same education as the existing Wren Academy in Barnet, which is judged by Ofsted to be outstanding.
Lime Wood Free School, Bexley
The Woodland Academy Trust claims planned development in the London Borough of Bexley will create the need for its new free school, which will provide 630 places for 5 to 11-year-olds and provide a “stimulating and engaging learning environment”.
Chiltern Academy, Luton
Luton’s new school will create up to 1,200 places for 11 to 16-year-olds in the area. It is being established by the Chiltern Learning Trust, which already runs two secondary schools. The Chiltern Academy will offer an “ambitious curriculum underpinned by sport, business and engineering specialisms”.
Shireland High Tech Primary, Birmingham
Based in Smethwick, Shireland will create 446 places for 3 to 11-year-olds, who will learn through the “use of technology”. The Collegiate Academy Trust behind the school bid already runs Shireland Collegiate Academy in Smethwick.
Livingstone Academy Bournemouth, Bournemouth
Another offering by Ian Livingstone, this school will also be run by the Aspirations Academies Trust and will provide up to 1,510 places for 4 to 19-year-olds. Like the Tower Hamlets school, this school will focus on STEAM subjects with computer science “at its core”.
The SGS Free School, South Gloucestershire
Up to 80 places for 4 to 19-year-olds with autistic spectrum disorder will be provided at this new school in Filton, sponsored by South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and will form part of the wider local Concorde Partnership of five secondary schools.
Callywith College, Cornwall
Located in Bodmin, Callywith College is expected to provide places for up to 1,280 16 to 19-year-olds. Backed by Truro and Penwith College, Callywith will offer A levels alongside vocational qualifications.
Hope Community School, Kent
New Generation Schools Trust has been approved to open Hope Community School in Northfleet, Gravesham, to provide 420 places for 4 to 11-year-olds. The Christian faith school will offer a “diverse curriculum” including Mandarin and French.
University of Brighton Secondary School, Brighton and Hove
Up to 900 places will be provided at this new school for 11 to 16-year-olds. The University of Brighton Academies Trust, which already runs Pound Hill Infant Academy, is behind the bid, which is also supported by the university’s school of education.
Gosforth Great Park Academy, Newcastle upon Tyne
This new school will provide up to 1,200 places for 9 to 16-year-olds in the Great Park area of Gosforth, Newcastle. The Gosforth Federated Academies Ltd hopes to build on “successes within their two existing academies” and will focus the school’s curriculum on English, maths, science, PE and PSHCE.
Eden Girls’ School and Eden Boys’ School, Manchester
The Tauheedul Education Trust has been given leave to open two Muslim faith schools which will each cater for 800 11 to 18-year-olds. The girls’ schools will focus on leadership, while the boys’ school will focus on STEM subjects.
Cheadle Hulme High 2, Stockport
The Laurus Trust’s existing school Cheadle Hulme High School has been judged as outstanding by Ofsted, and the trust is aiming to “replicate this outstanding practice” at its new school. No details of age range or capacity have been provided.
Dixons Trinity, Leeds
Up to 1,140 primary and secondary places will be provided at Dixons Trinity Leeds, which is being set up by Dixons Academy Trust based on the model used at Dixons Trinity Academy in nearby Bradford, the first secondary free school to be judged outstanding by Ofsted.
Roundhay Park Primary School, Leeds
This new school bid has already attracted media attention, having featured on BBC’s The One Show. It will be run by the Fair Access Trust, a parent-led group. It is not yet known how many places will be created.
Beauchamp 16-19 STEM, Leicestershire
The new Beauchamp 16 to 19 STEM free school in Oadby, will be set up by Lionheart Academies Trust. The 500-place school will focus on maths, science and computer science, whilst forging links with local employers and universities.