• Tory peer’s academy trust seeks unpaid workers

    An academy trust founded by a Conservative peer is advertising for unpaid volunteers to fill key roles, as plans for another free school bite the dust. Newly published accounts for the Floreat Education Academies Trust, founded in 2014 by Lord James O’Shaughnessy, a former aide to David Cameron, show “very low pupil numbers” forced it

    7.00 Jan. 11th, 2019 | News

  • Oil tycoon's foundation among New Schools Network donors

    The foundation of a controversial oil tycoon was among the donors to the New Schools Network this year, new documents show. In what appears to be a first, accounts published by the NSN this week reveal the names of two donors, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Blavatnik Family Foundation. Set up by government to

    7.00 Dec. 2nd, 2018 | News

  • DfE to shell out £10m for 200 ‘external experts’

    The Department for Education will spend £10 million on 200 “external experts” to advise it on policy areas including safeguarding, free schools and the curriculum. A tender document published this week reveals that the department is searching for organisations to run a “register of external experts” made up of “individuals who have expertise and experience

    5.00 Nov. 2nd, 2018 | News

  • New Schools Network boss resigned after PTE merger rebuffed

    The board of the New Schools Network turned down a proposal by its interim boss to merge the charity with a “grassroots” group set up to lobby for education reform, it has emerged. NSN interim director Mark Lehain proposed that the charity – which promotes and helps people set up free schools – merge with

    16.38 Oct. 25th, 2018 | News

  • Did free schools really get the best progress scores?

    Free schools came top as the best-performing “type” of school in this year’s Progress 8 tables, but were their scores really good enough to assert that with confidence? Becky Allen explains… Today appeared to be a good day for free schools, with mainstream free schools achieving a Progress 8 score of +0.24 across the sector.

    14.03 Oct. 16th, 2018 | Opinion

  • DfE spent more than £23m on failed studio schools

    The government has spent more than £23 million on studio schools that have either closed or never opened but the price tag total won’t be known until the much-delayed publication of its final costs. Twenty-six studio schools have closed or announced plans to close since the scheme was introduced in 2010. In the past week

    5.00 Jun. 15th, 2018 | News

  • A simple guide to the next wave of free school applications

    Wave 13 of the free schools applications opened today. Mark Lehain explains how it differs from previous rounds The next wave of free school applications announced today will be quite different to the ones that have gone before – so if you are remotely interested in the policy or maybe even bidding yourself, it’s worth

    13.59 May. 11th, 2018 | Opinion

  • United Learning and Ark in north-London turf war

    Two of the country’s leading academy trusts have clashed over plans for an “unneeded” free school in north London. Plans for Ark to build the Ark Pioneer Academy – a secondary school with a sixth form – on the site of the former Underhill Stadium in Barnet are expected to be rubber-stamped soon despite objections

    5.00 Feb. 10th, 2018 | News

  • Free schools can't be judged as a homogenous group

    Tom Richmond is wrong on one thing, argues Thomas Byrne. There already are numerous free school successes – and more than a few that have gone wrong It’s true that it’s too early to tell whether the free schools programme has lived up to its champions’ claims; the former DfE advisor Tom Richmond was correct

    5.00 Feb. 5th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Free schools: do their outcomes justify the cost?

    There’s not enough evidence yet to see whether free schools have worked, says Tom Richmond, but what we do now know is quite how expensive the project has been When Toby Young, the director of the New Schools Network, said last summer that free schools were “the most successful education policy of the post-war period”,

    5.00 Jan. 29th, 2018 | Opinion

  • Warrington academy reduces intake, blames nearby free school

    A secondary school in Warrington intends to reduce its intake, blaming the arrival of an award-winning free school on its patch. Birchwood Community High School (pictured), an academy in the Birchwood area of Warrington, is consulting on a proposal to reduce its intake by 40 pupils from September 2019 after the King’s Leadership Academy Warrington,

    5.00 Nov. 27th, 2017 | News