Campaign aims to inspire teachers to run their ‘dream school’

Teachers are being urged to set up the kind of school they’ve always wanted to teach in

The New Schools Network, a charity that helps applicants set up free schools, has launched a campaign to inspire the profession to join their teacher colleagues in opening new schools.

More than 70 per cent of free schools have been founded by teachers – a number that has steadily grown over the past few years, according to the charity.

The campaign, which will target teachers online and through social media, aims to reach senior and middle leaders in the profession.

It encourages anyone interested in setting up a new school to come forward to discuss their ideas with the New Schools Network.

The charity has already helped numerous teachers to set up schools, including Johnette Barrett, founder of Paxton Academy in Croydon.

Ms Barrett, who was a primary headteacher, decided to set up a school after she experienced difficulty finding space in local primaries. To tackle high level of obesity in the local area, she designed a school with a sports and science specialism.

Meanwhile, Gwyn ap Harri and Andy Sprakes also benefited from support setting up XP School in Doncaster, which uses the project-based learning model of High Tech High in the US.

‘Fantastic opportunity’

Nick Timothy, director of New Schools Network, said: “It might surprise some people to hear that over 70 per cent of free schools have been set up by teachers.

“Over the past few years, we have seen a steady uplift in the numbers of teachers coming forward – often wanting to set up the type of school they have always wanted to teach in.”

Mr Timothy added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for teachers to create the schools of their dreams. Whether they are working with a group of colleagues, partnering with a community group or leading a free school bid from within their existing school, it is the profession that is driving the development of these news schools, and we want to encourage others to follow in their footsteps.”

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