Press release: Prime Minister announces landmark wave of free schools

Prime Minister David Cameron today (9 March 2015) announced 49 new free schools for communities across the country, strengthening the government’s mission to give all parents the choice and security of a ‘good’ local school.

The move brings the total number of free school places created since 2010 to almost a quarter of a million, making this policy the most successful new schools programme in national history with schools being created more quickly than ever before.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan hailed the policy for giving thousands of children the choice of attending an excellent local school ‘and the best possible education that prepares them for life in modern Britain’. In total more than 400 free schools have been approved since 2010, creating more than 230,000 school places across the country.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

Delivering the best schools and skills for young people is a crucial part of our long term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain. Free schools set up by teachers, parents and community groups are not only outperforming other schools, but they are raising the performance of those around them, meaning more opportunities for children to learn the skills they need to get on in life.

These new schools are an important part of our plan to improve education by raising standards and restoring discipline so our children can compete with the world’s best and enjoy a better future.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

Free schools give pupils the chance to attend an excellent local school. They are providing more choice than ever before to parents and ensuring that children have access to a high quality school place and the best possible education that prepares them for life in modern Britain.

With the total number of approved free schools now rising to more than 400, the demand from parents, charities and education experts to set up the schools has proven the programme to be one of the most important modern drivers of social mobility.

Today’s announcement sends a clear sign that children for generations to come will be able to benefit from a place in a free school. With already more than two-thirds being rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, today’s news will reassure parents that standards will continue to rise.

The schools announced today will meet the growing demand of parents for more ‘good’ local schools with high standards and strong discipline. One of these new schools includes the Northampton International Academy, which will benefit thousands of parents in the East Midlands. The new 2,220 place school will serve pupils from aged 3 to 19 will offer an extended school day. The curriculum will focus on the study of modern languages at both primary and secondary level.

Elsewhere, parents in Maidstone, Kent, are set to benefit from a new School of Science and Technology – a new STEM-focused school for up to 800 students that will forge links with the Singapore School of Science and Technology to give pupils an international knowledge of science and commerce.

But also announced today are a number of schools using the innovative powers of the free schools programme to transform the lives of many of society’s most disadvantaged and disaffected children. 17% of all free schools are dedicated to special needs or alternative provision (AP).

One new school being designed will stop young offenders returning to prison. The Campus free school is the result of more than 3 years of collaboration between education and youth justice experts and will help up to 30 Haringey teenagers caught up in the cycle of crime to gain valuable qualifications, while giving them the support needed to avoid reoffending.

Also announced today is a school that will harness the discipline of boxing to transform the lives of disaffected young people who have fallen out of the mainstream education system.

The Boxing Academy will open as a free school in order to extend its offering to up to 56 pupils a year – 2 more classes than before. While pupils will not have to box, the sport’s ethos will be harnessed to help them channel their aggression and learn discipline and teamwork. Pupils will be mentored in small groups by boxers, while gaining valuable GCSEs including English and maths.

Free schools are brand new schools set up by parents, teachers and charities in response to demand from the local community. Today’s announcement – the final wave of free schools to be approved before the general election – brings the total number of open and approved free schools to more than 400, creating around 230,000 new places often in the most deprived parts of the country.

Through free schools and academies the government is taking power away from politicians and bureaucrats and handing it to heads and teachers. 72% of free school heads say they are having a positive impact on schools in their local area – driving up standards and ensuring more parents have a great school in their neighbourhood.

More than 40,000 pupils are already attending free schools just 3-and-a-half years after the first 1 opened its gates. More than two-thirds are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ and 72% are located in areas with a shortage of places. 90% of today’s free schools will be located in areas with a shortage of places.

With demand for childcare at an all-time high, ministers have also announced the government will finance free schools to offer nursery provision in the next wave of applications.

For the first time, successful applicants will be able to use capital funding to create nursery places for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds, where the government’s offer of 15 hours per week of free childcare can be provided.

Notes to editors

  1. Just 27 academies were opened in the first 4 years of the academies programme (from 2002), while only 15 City technology colleges were opened in 5 years (from 1988).
  2. See the list of open free schools and successful applications.
  3. The 49 free schools and 3 studio schools announced today.

East Midlands

Northampton International Academy

A new all-through school for 3- to 19-year-olds, the Northampton International Academy will be a centre of excellence offering an academic curriculum at primary and secondary levels, and post-16 provision including the International Baccalaureate, A level and technical qualifications. Providing up to 2,220 new places, students will benefit from an extended school day with a curriculum focus on the study of modern languages in both primary and secondary places.

East of England

Charles Darwin Primary School in Norwich

The successful Inspiration Trust, led by Dame Rachel De Souza, will open the Charles Darwin Primary School in 2016. As well as introducing pupils to French in year 1, the school will have a traditional academic curriculum with a strong focus on core reading, writing and mathematics skills – aiming to ‘get the basics right’.

Croxley Green School in Hertfordshire

With a growing local need for pupil places, the St Clement Danes School will open a new secondary in Croxley Green. St Clement Danes was judged as ‘outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted and pupils consistently achieve excellent results, regardless of their background. With a headteacher who is a national leader of education, St Clement Danes is in an excellent position to support a new and growing secondary. Croxley Green School will provide an extra 1,200 high-quality places for parents in South West Hertfordshire.

Hampton Gardens Free School in Hampton, near Peterborough

In response to population growth and a need for more school places in Hampton, Yaxley and Farcet, Hampton Gardens Free School will open its doors in September 2017. The new 1,500 place secondary school will be led by the Hampton Trust, the group behind the highly successful Hampton College. The 2 schools will work closely together sharing teachers and facilities and offering GCSEs and vocational courses across sites to widen the choice and opportunities available to pupils.

Harpenden Secondary Free School in Hertfordshire

Harpenden parents’ demand for another traditional high-calibre academic institution has been answered by the headteachers of 3 local ‘outstanding’ secondary schools. Harpenden Secondary Free School will respond to the need for more school places by creating 1150 places in the secondary school alongside a 250-place sixth form. The school will set high standards for all and rigorously monitor its pupils’ and teachers’ performance and progress.

Trafalgar College in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Proposed by the successful Inspiration Trust, led by Dame Rachel De Souza, Trafalgar College will be a new secondary school for 890 young people in Yarmouth. It will open its doors to its first intake of pupils in September 2016 and will have a focus on STEM subjects.

The Wherry School in Norfolk

The successful Parkside Community Trust will open The Wherry, a new all-through special school in Norfolk that will cater for 100 autistic pupils. The trust will work with Children’s Assessment Therapy Services and Autism Anglia to provide personalised teaching that builds on individual areas of strength and removes barriers to learning so that all learners reach their full potential. This new opportunity will meet local need and provide a unique set of education, psychological and therapeutic services for autistic children in Norfolk.

London

Ashmole Primary School in Southgate

The highly acclaimed Ashmole Academy will open a new 420 place primary school in Southgate. The creation of the Ashmole Academy Education Campus will be a centre of excellence in education from pre-school through to age 18. The primary school will have close links to the existing secondary academy, sharing teachers and facilities and preparing pupils for the step on to secondary education.

The Athena Academy in Waltham Forest

The Athena Academy will open in September 2016 to meet parental demand for a new primary school in Waltham Forest. The new 420 place school will be led by REAch2 Waltham Forest, the group behind the ‘outstanding’ Hillyfield Primary Academy in Higham Hill. Pupils at the new free school can look forward to the innovative 11B411 promise that guarantees each child will have 11 life-enriching experiences, such as rock climbing and performing in a concert at a major UK venue, before the age of 11.

Avanti Heath Clarke Primary School in Croydon

Avanti Schools Trust will open a new primary school for 420 pupils in Croydon in September 2016. The school will have a Hindu faith designation and will deliver an engaging and inclusive curriculum with a focus on literacy and numeracy. The trust already runs 4 other schools, all of which have recently been rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Barclay Secondary Free School in Waltham Forest

Barclay Secondary Free School plans to open its doors in September 2016 as a result of overwhelming parental demand for a new secondary school in Waltham Forest. The new 1,400 place school will be led by the Lion Academy Trust, the group behind Barclay Primary, Leyton. Students can look forward to work experience placements and internships through the trust’s partnerships with Google and Samsung.

The Boxing Academy AP Free School in Hackney

This alternative provision independent school will open as a free school in September 2016 to transform the lives of even more of Hackney’s most vulnerable and underachieving students. This oversubscribed school will open offer additional GCSEs and vocational options tailored to students’ needs. Through its unique boxing discipline-based ethos, boxing mentors will help students to channel their aggression and learn discipline, teamwork and achievement, often for the first time in their lives.

Bullers Wood School for Boys in Bromley

Bullers Wood School for Girls, 1 of the most successful secondary schools in the country, will open a school for 900 boys in Bromley. Sharing the core values and academically high aspirations that makes the existing school so popular in the local area, this new secondary school will promote a ‘can do’ culture in both staff and students when it opens in 2016. The curriculum will be supported by character building activities, including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, as well as biannual expeditions for students to places such as China and Madagascar.

The Campus in Haringey

After more than 3 years of collaboration between education and youth justice experts, The Campus will open in September 2016 to teach 30 11- to 16-year-olds who are either subject to court orders or have recently been released from custody. The school will ensure that these young people, who frequently struggle in mainstream education and find themselves repeatedly returned to the justice system, receive a broad and balanced education as well as the support they need to avoid reoffending and achieve their ambitions.

The Charter School East Dulwich

The ‘outstanding’ and heavily over-subscribed Charter School will be opening a second school in 2016 on the site of the former East Dulwich hospital. Catering for 1220 students, the school will meet the huge demand for new places in the Dulwich area. Charter School East Dulwich will encourage all students to become creative, confident and caring citizens. The school will also offer work-related learning through a partnership with King’s College Hospital, the largest local employer.

City Gates School in Redbridge

City Gates School will be a new all-through school for 4- to 16-year-olds in the Seven Kings/Goodmayes area of Redbridge. The school will have a Christian ethos but will cater for pupils of all faiths and none. The school is a response to demand from parents who said they wanted a small Christian school teaching a traditional academic curriculum.

City of London Primary Academy Southwark in South Bermondsey

The City of London Corporation will open a primary school for 420 children in South Bermondsey in 2016. Overseen by Mickey Kelly, the inspirational headteacher of Redriff Primary Academy, the free school will target ‘the poverty of aspiration’ that holds back many local children from achieving their potential. This is 1 of 2 new primary schools being opened by the corporation in 2016, adding to the corporation’s reputation for providing high quality education both in the city and the surrounding areas.

City of London Primary Academy Islington

Working in partnership with Islington Council, the City of London Corporation will open a new primary school for 210 children, as part of a new housing development. The school will have high aspirations for each pupil, supporting them to become independent learners and develop their characters while involving parents as active partners in their children’s education.

Floreat Alperton Primary School in Brent

Floreat Alperton Primary School will open in September 2016, creating 420 new primary places and a nursery as part of its offer. The school plans to develop pupils’ cultural knowledge, curiosity and character strengths to ensure that every child flourishes. In the early years children will focus on the core skills of literacy and maths. As they progress increasing time will be allocated to subject-based lessons where children will be set ambitious targets.

Floreat Southall Primary School

Up to 420 children in Southall will benefit from a new primary school, set to open in September 2016. The school, which will also include a nursery, will place character education at the heart of its curriculum, while focusing on traditional academic excellence. In the early years children will focus on the core skills of literacy and maths. As they progress increasing time will be allocated to subject-based lessons where children will be set ambitious targets.

Greatfields School in Barking

As part of a major regeneration of the Gascoigne area of Barking, Greatfields School will open in September 2017. The secondary school will be run by the Partnership Learning trust, the group behind the popular Riverside School. Greatfields will provide 1,824 places for the local community, helping the many families moving into the 12,000 new houses being built nearby. Greatfields School will be partnered by the highly successful Sydney Russell School and will play a significant part in meeting the rapidly rising demand for school places. The new school will teach a rich and varied curriculum, including classical studies, and a programme designed to develop confidence and resilience.

The Green School for Boys in Isleworth and Brentford

The Green School Trust is a long established and renowned provider of education for girls in Hounslow. The trust will now be able to offer the same high quality option for boys in the Isleworth and Brentford area, where need is growing and parental demand for new places is high. The school will have a clear focus on increasing students’ future employability through practical STEM learning, as well as fostering values of citizenship and community.

Harris Wimbledon Free School

The highly successful and popular Harris Federation will open a new secondary school in Wimbledon for 1,150 pupils in 2016. The school will set the same high standards for teaching and pupil behaviour that are found across the trust and will specialise in both enterprise and languages, including Latin. A recent report by The Sutton Trust found that, compared with other academy chains, Harris has the highest proportion of disadvantaged students achieving at least 5 good GCSEs, including English and maths.

Heartlands Autism School in Haringey

The successful Heartlands High School Trust will build upon its strong track record of supporting autistic pupils by opening Heartlands Autism School, a special school for 4- to 19-year-olds in Haringey. It will cater for the needs of children and young people with autistic spectrum disorder and will work with local employers to ensure pupils acquire life skills, as well as academic qualifications. The school will open in September 2016 and will eventually admit up to 104 pupils.

The Hip School in Hounslow

Secondary schools in Hounslow, all of which are rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, are collaborating to offer 1,150 new secondary places to meet growing local need. The school will place an emphasis on fostering students’ leadership skills and plans to closely collaborate with local businesses to provide an excellent education for children.

Kisharon Inclusive Free School in Barnet

The Kisharon charity has successfully provided care and education to people with special needs in London since 1976. Kisharon Day School has served the Barnet community faithfully and has been praised by Ofsted for the quality of its teaching and its outstanding emphasis on pupil welfare, behaviour and personal development. The school will become a free school, helping it to double the number of pupils in its care to 70. This will give Kisharon the capacity and the security to help even more disadvantaged children get the best possible start in life.

Langley Park Primary School in Bromley

To meet the need for more primary school places in Bromley, 4 successful local schools, including the ‘outstanding’ Hawes Down Junior School, are opening a primary school for 420 pupils. Viewing numeracy as a language into which young minds should be immersed as early as possible, the school will have the same focus on maths that is found at Hawes Down, where all pupils leave the school with an advanced level of numeracy.

Logic Studio School in Hounslow

Logic Studio School in Hounslow will be sponsored by Feltham Community College, a secondary school and sixth-form academy converter. The studio school has support from a number of employers including DHL and Gaia Technologies, who are committed to help shape the school’s curriculum and offering work placements to students. The studio school will specialise in computing technologies and international logistics, with a capacity for 300 students.

New School for Harrow

Led by local parents and supported by the successful Broadfields Primary School, the establishment of the New School for Harrow will make a valuable contribution to choice and diversity of local primary schools. Opening in September 2016, the school will provide individual education plans with a focus on innovative, project-based learning.

Stationers’ Academy Greenwich Peninsula

Stationers’ Academy Greenwich Peninsula will open in 2016 as a new secondary school in Greenwich for 11- to 19-year-olds. Located on Greenwich’s ‘digital peninsula’, the school will work closely with local higher education providers and businesses, giving students experience of business and enterprise and the opportunity to work on radio, television and digital recording projects.

Sutton Free School 1

The Greenshaw Learning Trust will open Sutton’s first free school in September 2017, providing 1,550 places, including 350 sixth form places. The school will specialise in English, maths, science and computing and aims to ensure all pupils succeed, regardless of their circumstances or background.

TBAP 16-19 Academic AP Academy in Hammersmith

This school will be the latest addition to the successful Tri-Borough Alternative Provision (TBAP) chain of schools and will be located alongside the Bridge AP Academy in Hammersmith. The free school will offer the International Baccalaureate to 16- to 19-year-olds who may not succeed in mainstream sixth forms, but have the potential to go to university. Students will be supported by a rigorous mentoring program that will help them meet very high academic standards.

WCGS Federation Free School in Croydon

WCGS Federation Free School will be a new secondary school in Croydon for 11- to 18-year-olds run by the same group as the high performing Wallington County Grammar School, currently in the top 50 schools for A levels nationally. The school will follow the national curriculum and will embody the principles of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.

North East

Sunderland Centre of Opportunity

Sunderland AFC is backing a new alternative provision school for 90 young people who have been excluded, or are at risk of exclusion, from mainstream school. Sunderland Centre for Opportunity will open in September 2016 within the Beacon of Light – a new education, skills and sports community facility located next to the football stadium. It will be delivered in partnership with local authorities and schools and will use the power of sport to inspire 13- to 16-year-olds back into education, offering vocational options as well as GCSEs. More than 140 local businesses have already signed up to provide aspirational learning experiences in support.

North West

Cheadle Hulme Primary School near Stockport, Greater Manchester

The Cheadle Hulme Education Trust, the group behind the highly performing secondary school of the same name, will open the 420 place Cheadle Hulme Primary School in 2016. The school has already gained support from the community and will provide greater choice for local parents. The school will follow the national curriculum and introduce specialist teaching to offer high quality language and science education.

Christleton International Studio in Chester, Cheshire

Christleton International Studio in Chester will be sponsored by Christleton High School, in partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The studio school will specialise in business and enterprise, with capacity for 330 students. It demonstrates an ambitious vision based on employer need and business opportunities in the area. The studio school will offer a distinctive curriculum developed in partnership with its banking partner.

North Cestrian School in Altrincham, Cheshire

From September 2016 the North Cestrian Grammar School will become a free school. The move will give students from all economic backgrounds the chance to attend this previously fee-paying school. Forming a new partnership with the ‘outstanding’ Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, the school will retain its original strong academic values and rich cultural and sporting traditions.

The Olive School in Bolton, Greater Manchester

Tauheedul Trust is responsible for a number of successful schools including Tauheedul Islam Girls High School in Blackburn, 1 of the best performing primary schools in the country. In 2016 the Trust will open the Olive School, a new Muslim faith primary school in Bolton. The trust’s vision for its schools is that they should become a national model for progressive, mainstream and positive faith-based education that provide young learners with ‘outstanding’ academic foundations to help them become exemplary members of their communities.

The Olive School in Preston, Lancashire

Tauheedul Trust will open this new Muslim faith primary school in 2016. This will be the trust’s second free school in Preston once Eden School opens this year. The trust’s vision for its Muslim schools is that they should become a national model for progressive, mainstream and positive faith-based education that provide young learners with outstanding academic foundations to help them become exemplary members of their communities.

The Orchards in Trafford, Greater Manchester

The Orchards will open in September 2016 to provide an outstanding education to primary pupils with complex learning difficulties. The school, which will have close links with Trafford Council, will cater for 80 pupils and provide a learning programme tailored to the abilities and needs of each of its pupil. Pupils will also have access to the wealth of enrichment activities the school will offer – including regular visits to museums and art galleries.

South East

Bishop Chavasse School in Tonbridge, Kent

The Bishop Chavasse Trust, which runs the successful Bennett Memorial Diocesan secondary school in Tunbridge Wells, will open a new 420 place Church of England primary school in Tonbridge in 2016. Named after Christopher Chavasse, who competed in the 1908 Olympic Games, the trust hopes to inspire young people in sport, courage and faith. Pupils will be taught by specialist teachers from the secondary school, focusing on literacy and numeracy.

Maidstone School of Science and Technology in Kent

The highly successful Valley Invicta Academies Trust will open a new school for 800 11- to 19-year-olds on the same site as the trust’s 2 existing ‘outstanding’ schools – Valley Park School and Invicta Grammar School. The new school will follow the national curriculum, but will focus on STEM. The school plans to forge links with the Singapore School of Science and Technology to provide pupils with an international experience of education and commerce.

The Runnymede School in Chertsey, Surrey

The successful Bourne Education Trust (BET) will open a new secondary school in Chertsey in September 2017, with the support of the Salesian School. The 900 place Runnymede School will have a Christian ethos that will welcome pupils from all faiths and none. The school will build on the approach used at the popular Epsom and Ewell High School and the Salesian School nearby. It will follow the national curriculum with personalised learning for students, placing a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy as well as STEM.

South West

Bristol Autism Free School

Bristol’s first all-through provision for students with autistic spectrum conditions will open its doors in September 2016. Replacing and expanding a small autism unit at the successful Merchants Academy, Bristol Autism Free School will respond to the increasing local demand. Backed by the local authority, the new school will provide 49 primary places and 35 secondary places. The project is sponsored by the Venturers’ Trust, the group behind 4 other successful local schools, and the University of Bristol.

Digital Primary Academy in Exeter, Devon

The Digital Primary Academy will open in 2016, creating 420 new primary places in northeast Exeter. The school will be opened by the same trust that runs the oversubscribed and ‘outstanding’ Broadclyst Primary Academy, the only UK primary school recognised as a Microsoft Mentor School and part of the Microsoft Global Challenge.

Great Western Academy in Swindon, Wiltshire

The Great Western Academy will have a business and enterprise curriculum model, which will add to the diversity of provision in the local area and is well suited to Swindon’s variety of private businesses. The group has worked closely with local businesses through New Swindon College, over a number of years, and aim to meet the local need for school leavers with the attitudes and behaviours required to become successful employees.

Kingsteignton School in Devon

The federation that runs the popular and ‘outstanding’ St Michael’s Church of England Primary School will open a new primary free school in Kingsteignton, bringing their educational expertise to a wider community. Setting high educational standards, with a strong focus on good behaviour, they will teach using both the national curriculum and the international primary curriculum, providing children with a broad educational experience. This will be a ‘Dementia Friendly’ school, making strong links with residents in the community affected by dementia and encouraging children to lead healthy lives. The school also aims to add a nursery as part of the offer for local parents.

Stoke Damerel Healthcare Professional Studio School in Plymouth

Stoke Damerel Healthcare Professional Studio School in Plymouth will be sponsored by Stoke Damerel Community College, with partners including Plymouth NHS Trust, Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry and Plymouth University. The studio school will specialise in healthcare with a curriculum that offers clear routes to medicine and dentistry courses. The studio school will cater for up to 375 students.

Swindon Church of England Secondary School in Wiltshire

The Diocese of Bristol is providing Swindon with its first Church of England secondary school. Swindon Church of England Secondary School will be a fully inclusive school welcoming children of all faiths and none, underpinned by Christian values and a community ethos. With an emphasis on high standards, the school will offer a range of traditional academic subjects and vocational qualifications, delivered in partnership with local colleges.

West Midlands

Olive School in Birmingham

Tauheedul Trust is responsible for a number of successful schools including Tauheedul Islam Girls High School in Blackburn, one of the best performing primary schools in the country. This new primary school will be the trust’s second free school in Birmingham, after the Eden School opens in Aston this year. The trust’s vision for its Muslim schools is that they should become a national model for progressive, mainstream and positive faith-based education that provides young learners with outstanding academic foundations to help them become exemplary members of their communities.

The Royal School Wolverhampton

This established independent school in Wolverhampton will open up to 750 local pupils by becoming a free school in September 2016. Building on its long tradition of educating the children of families from the armed forces, the school will balance an academically challenging programme with a rich extra-curricular offering including nationally accredited swimming programmes, summer camps, cadet force training at a local RAF base and boarding provision. The independent school has enjoyed royal patronage since 1891 and the current patron Prince Edward is supportive of the conversion.

Yorkshire and the Humber

New College Doncaster in South Yorkshire

New College Doncaster will be a ‘sister’ school to the highly successful New College Pontefract, which is judged ‘outstanding’ and is successful in preparing its students for access to higher education and employment. The college will be the first dedicated post-16 provision in Doncaster to offer both academic and vocational qualification programmes.

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