While schools across the country return for the new academic year, 51 new free schools have opened their doors to pupils for the very first time this week. To celebrate the extraordinary achievement of opening during COVID-19, we take a look at five new exciting schools.

University of Liverpool Maths School

Following the success of King's College London Maths School and Exeter Mathematics School, the University of Liverpool Maths School for 16-19-year-olds has become the third specialist mathematics free school to open in England.

As the first school of its kind located in the North of England, it is committed to developing and retaining talent in the region, ensuring students from all socio-economic backgrounds have the opportunity to achieve their academic potential.

Through the Aspiring Mathematicians Programme (AMP) pupils will have access to masterclass sessions with University lecturers, support from PhD students, training for prestigious maths and science challenges, group research projects, UCAS assistance and careers guidance.

The school boasts an exciting and ambitious teaching pool, all of whom will seek to develop pupils' problem-solving, analytical thinking and solution creation.

Anglo Portuguese School of London (APSoL)

APSoL is England's first primary school to provide a bilingual curriculum in English and Portuguese.

Located in south London, the school is currently open for children in Reception year, with the aim of growing year-on-year to have a maximum capacity of around 420 pupils.

APSoL will offer an innovative and exciting syllabus while recruiting pupils with varying language abilities from all nationalities. The school’s immersive bilingual approach seeks to develop children's critical thinking, resilience, collaboration and will prepare all pupils for later life.

The school meets a growing demand for bilingual education in England and pupils will have the chance to be fluent in one of the top five most spoken languages in the world. APSoL is part of the Talent Education Trust and has support from the Portuguese government.  

The Watling Academy

The Watling Academy is a brand new secondary school open in Milton Keynes. Once at full-capacity, it will cater to approximately 1,800 pupils between the ages of 11-16.

The school plans to place Milton Keynes at the heart of its curriculum. The city’s local history and modern day expansion will run through the school’s curriculum to equip students with the necessary skills to contribute to local and broader society.

The Watling Academy focuses on STEM subjects and plans to promote environmental issues and sustainability to its pupils. Its ecological mission is underpinned by the three values of the 'Watling Way' - respect, responsibility and kindness.

The school’s leaders view these values as essential for tackling the global environmental crisis. Its partnerships - with the Green Schools group and Eco-schools award - have helped the school build more sustainable practises.

The Watling Academy is part of the Denbigh Alliance Multi-Academy Trust which has sought collaboration with parents, to establish a reward scheme for those who travel to school using lower carbon modes of transport. 

Monkerton Community Primary School

Monkerton Community Primary School (MCPS) is a new primary school located on the outskirts of Exeter, Devon. The school is part of the Cornerstone Academy Trust (TCAT), which prides itself on providing a modern curriculum through the innovative use of IT and digital media.

MCPS takes a new approach to using digital tools in the classroom, embedding their use within a broad and balanced curriculum. Pupils will be taught from an early age to program, to develop good logical thinking skills, to solve problems and to collaborate effectively with their peers.

Like all school's part of the TCAT, its teachers will have received training through the Cornerstone Teaching School. The teaching school builds capable staff members who can deliver personalised learning experiences that empower students to be independent and creative learners. 

Bader Academy 

Bader Academy is a new special free school opening in Doncaster. The school has been established for children and young people aged between 5-19 years old with an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) with a primary diagnosis of Communication & Interaction Difficulties.

Named after local war hero Sir Douglas Bader, who lost both his legs in a crash while training to be a pilot but subsequently reenlisted to fight in World War Two. The school will provide a curriculum to prepare students for later life. All children and young people will have access to a flexible and personalised education.

Bader Academy encourages maximum collaboration with parents so that they can shape their own child's EHCP. The school will ensure that every child receives the best education possible by focussing on small class sizes and high staff ratios.