NSN News

NSN Director: "As we reach the end of term, I want to say thank you to all working in education"

"The term ‘unprecedented year’ has been bandied around throughout 2020, so much so that it has lost meaning – but it really is true. The challenges schools have faced and tackled head on throughout the year, and particularly this term have been significant.

"This country owes a huge amount of gratitude to teachers, leaders, governors, support staff and others for all that they have done, as schools have done everything they can to keep children safe and learning. They have gone above and beyond, proving once again their role as a pillar of society and community.

NSN Director: "Plans go some way in protecting opportunity for children"

"The announcement on plans for exams in 2021 is hugely welcome news. Since March, teachers have done their level-best under exceptionally testing conditions and this clarity will bring some relief.

"As we saw in August, exams are the only reasonable way to ensure equity and fairness. It is right that centre-assessed grades will not be used next year.

"While there is no perfect way to level the playing field, these plans will go some way in protecting opportunity for children that have missed significant learning time this year."

NSN Director responds to the Spending Review

It is very disappointing that the Chancellor has overlooked a new free school wave in the Spending Review.

At the election less than a year ago, the Government made a promise to ‘level up’ opportunity across the country and address the inequalities in access to, and quality of, critical infrastructure in many communities – particularly across the north and midlands. Many of these areas have some of the highest deprivation levels and lowest educational outcomes, with the average Progress 8 score across northern regions -0.21 compared with +0.22 in London.

NSN's priorities for the Spending Review

Throughout the pandemic, teachers have gone above and beyond to keep schools open and pupils learning. But this year has also exposed further the challenges in our education system that are letting parents and their children down.

This Spending Review is an opportunity to deliver on the manifesto pledges made at the last election – to generate real and lasting change for communities across England, by improving standards of education so that this generation is not blighted by the impact of the pandemic for their whole lives.

NSN Director: "Fantastic news that another specialist maths free school will be opening"

"It is fantastic news that another specialist maths free school will be opening, the first to do so in Yorkshire. The University of Leeds will join the likes of Kings College London, the University of Exeter and more recently the University of Liverpool to provide their world-class expertise to sixth-form students.

NSN and CST publish On Diversity: An Essay Collection

New Schools Network and the Confederation of School Trusts (CST) are delighted to publish On Diversity: An Essay Collection. This timely collection is part of a broader programme on diversity for both organisations.

Written by six trustees from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds, the collection hopes to amplify the experience of trustees as they share their views on the importance of diversity and inclusion.  

Centre for Economic Performance finds private school pupils nearly twice as likely to be taught a full timetable in lockdown

"The LSE-CEP Social Mobility Survey findings, outlined in last night’s BBC Panorama special, are deeply concerning. Less than 38% of state school pupils benefited from full schooling during lockdown, in comparison to 74% of private school pupils.

"We know that many free schools were able to adapt online learning platforms quickly. Some schools like King's Leadership Academy Warrington ensured full schooling for pupils throughout school closures. However, research highlighting the damning implications of school closures on educational inequality is becoming all too common.

Sutton Trust report states that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts those from lower socio-economic backgrounds

Unity Howard, Director of New Schools Network, said:

“These are worrying findings from the Sutton Trust. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds have already suffered most from school closure, and we should all be concerned the evidence suggests they will continue suffering more than their peers in relation to COVID-19 related school closure.

Social Mobility Commission report details vast inequality in England

Unity Howard, Director of New Schools Network said:  

“These are concerning findings from the Social Mobility Commission; those entitled to free school meals are more likely to earn less and have fewer opportunities than their peers.

"This is completely unjust. We must ensure that every child has a good school place that gives them the best opportunities in life, irrespective of their background. It must not be the case that a postcode can dictate life chances. 

Government sets out plans to modernise building planning regulations

Unity Howard, Director of the New Schools Network said:

“I welcome the government’s intention to reform the planning system and allow schools to be built quicker in areas of need.

“Today, there are 271 free schools stuck in the planning and development stage. Of which, 140 have been in pre-opening for around 40 months, this is far too long. Free school leaders consistently voice their frustration at a system which is both complex and time consuming.