On Friday 16 September, the biggest wave of free school places this parliament was approved; coupled with the 56 previously approved new schools, this signals significant headway towards the government’s aim of opening 500 new free schools by 2020, and Theresa May’s vision of Britain: the great meritocracy announced last Friday.
Amongst the schools approved today (16th September), were a parent-led special school for children with autism (Cumbria Academy for Autism), and a secondary school launched by the rugby Premiership champions and European Cup winners, Saracens (The Saracens High School).
It is interesting to see schools offering alternative provision being approved and opened: The REAch2 Academy Trust (the largest primary only academy in the country) had 21 new schools approved today, one being their first alternative provision school for children who have been excluded from mainstream school in Lowestoft.
Similarly, the Beacon of Light free school opened its doors for the first time this academic year. The school is part of the Foundation of Light Trust, the charitable arm of Sunderland football club, and aims to utilise the power of sport to re-engage 13-16 year-olds at risk of exclusion from mainstream school. These schools will hopefully help give children who are finding mainstream education challenging a fresh start with their school career. There is also opportunity for these new alternative provision schools to work closely with mainstream colleagues to provide support in their settings.
The latest figures on free schools show that 80% are now rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding.’ Free schools can be viewed as an opportunity to create good schools in deprived areas: organisations and education professionals who want to make the greatest possible impact in disadvantaged areas have the chance to work together to open new schools. We have proven experience of supporting with all stages of the process of setting up a free school. Contact One Education on 0844 967 1111 if you would like more information.
Read the full announcement More choice as over 80,000 new free school places created.
Authored by Fay Gingell.