There are over 500 open free schools across England. They are in every region of the country and span all school types and age ranges. Find out more about some of the exciting innovations these schools are bringing to their local community.

Free school story: Marine Academy Primary

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This school was started by an existing secondary school - the Marine Academy – and its curriculum is based around marine themes which relate to Plymouth’s history as a city of the sea and its future as a place where marine industries will play a crucial part in its prosperity. Trips to the local area bring this learning to life, with pupils this year already benefiting from a trip to the beach to think about journeys across the sea and a visit to the fish market to help their designs for when building boats.

Free school story: Atherton Community School

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Atherton Community School is a small Christian-ethos secondary school in Wigan. It opened with a year 7 class in 2012 and the first year 12 students joined the sixth form in 2013. The school grew out of a partnership of local parents and community leaders supported by Chapel St – the school sponsor. Atherton puts a high priority on community engagement and giving students a strong sense of social responsibility is a key focus.

Free school story: Canary Wharf College

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Canary Wharf was set up to deliver small class sizes in the heart of one of the poorest boroughs in the country and the children receive a high level of adult input as well as having a longer school day. Outside the classroom pupils receive three hours a week of specialist sports teaching as well as studying a language. Canary Wharf College has become a hub of the community with a Music School, “Concert Canary” running on a Saturday, a church, run by London City Mission on a Sunday, and an activity service, Camp Canary, running through holiday periods.

Free school story: London Academy of Excellence

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LAE was the first sixth form college to open under the free school programme and now sits opposite Stratford station, within easy reach of the Olympic Park.  Academically rigorous, the Academy aims to help students from the most deprived parts of East London get places at top universities.It was an ambitious undertaking but the signs are positive.

Free school story: Everton Free School

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It was set up by the charity Everton in the Community and maintains strong links with the Premiership football club. The school uses the aspirational values and history of the club as a motivating factor for their students' experience. Everton in the Community is the club’s official charity and has an established history of engaging young people in a range of programmes to promote health, education, social inclusion and equality of opportunity using the power of sport.

Free school story: Tiger Primary School

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The school uses an open space which provides the setting for two classes to be taught simultaneously to promote collaborative teaching and learning. Headteacher Emma Bryant explains: “Unlike traditional classrooms these spaces provide learning environments for two classes, which promotes collaborative learning and teaching. Plazas ensure continuity of delivery and opportunities for all children.”
 

Free school story: Brighton Bilingual Primary School

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The group behind the school was made up of parents and teachers who wanted to open a school with a focus on bilingualism, bi-culturalism and bi-literacy.

Brighton Bilingual’s Headteacher and Chair of Governors both grew up speaking two languages and wanted more children to have the opportunity to do the same. Setting up a new free school allowed them to bring their shared vision to life.