146 free school providers sign letter urging all parties to allow new schools to open where parents want them

146 founders, principals and governors of free schools, representing 127 of the 405 open and approved free schools have come together as signatories of a letter highlighting the impact that these new schools are having and calling on political parties from across the spectrum to allow free schools to be set up wherever parents want them.

Signatories to the letter, published in The Times, represent 31% of the free schools community and include:

  • Janet Goddard, Headteacher, Alban City School
  • Luke Sparkes, Principal, Dixons Trinity Academy
  • Phil Duffy, Principal, Everton Free School
  • Sir Iain Hall, Chair, Great Schools for All Children Trust 
  • Dr Sue Attard, Executive Principal, Hatfield Community Free School and Jupiter Community Free School
  • Barnaby Lenon, Chair of Governors, London Academy of Excellence
  • Liam Nolan, CEO, Perry Beeches Academy Trust
  • Jenny Boyd, Headteacher, Rosewood School
  • Seamus Oates, Executive Headteacher TBAP Trust, TBAP 16-19 Academic AP Academy
  • Mark Featherstone-Witty OBE, CEO, The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, on behalf of LIPA Primary School

Natalie Evans, Director of the New Schools Network said:

“Those who have had the chance to set up new schools in the last few years know the impact they have had and want to ensure more communities have access to them in the future. We co-ordinated this letter of support so that we can send a strong message to all of the parties calling on them to allow new schools to be set up by groups of teachers, community groups, charities and existing schools wherever parents strongly support them.

“We know that 1 in 4 parents would have picked another school for their child given the opportunity. Free schools are providing much needed choice and we hope that politicians will respond in kind, addressing what parents really want: a good local school for their child.”

The letter in full:

SIR – We have founded or run 127 of the 400+ free schools set up across England since 2010 and have worked incredibly hard alongside our teams and supportive parents to make these new schools a reality. We made this commitment because we believe our schools can make a positive difference to education locally. We are not driven by ideology and come from every political background and none – our common cause is ensuring that all children have access to a good school.

Our schools are already making that difference. Ofsted inspects us after we have been open just five terms. 70% of free schools inspected so far have been judged good or better – with a higher proportion than the national average receiving the ‘Outstanding’ accolade.

By responding to local demand we are providing new, much needed school places; raising standards; and offering parents and pupils a new choice. We call on all parties to continue to allow free schools By responding to local demand we are providing new, much needed school places; raising standards; and offering parents and pupils a new choice. We call on all parties to continue to allow free schools to be set up in the future - wherever parents want them - because they are helping to raise standards, especially for those most in need.

Janet Goddard, Headteacher, Alban City SchoolCarrie Matthews, Principal, Barnfield MoorlandsBrigid Tullie, Headteacher and Alistair Hartley, Chair of Governors, Batley Grammar SchoolMark Lehain, Principal, Bedford Free SchoolClaire Delaney, Chair, Bellevue Place Education Trust, on behalf of Barnet Free Primary SchoolIan Bauckham, Headteacher, Bennett Memorial School, on behalf of Bishop Chavasse SchoolSacha Corcoran MBE, Principal, Big Creative AcademyMarina Gutierrez, Founder, Bilingual Primary School for Brighton and HoveToni Carr, Principal, Bolton Wanderers Free SchoolJo Bland, Principal, Boston Pioneers Free SchoolNeil Blundell, Executive Principal, Bristol Cathedral Primary SchoolJacqui Ford, Project Lead, Bristol Futures AcademyAnne Gouldthorpe, Deputy Headteacher, Bullers Wood School for BoysJustine Drury, Principal Designate, Channeling PositivityRebecca Maxted, Headteacher and Ali Jaffer, Proposer, Chapeltown AcademyClaire Heald, Executive Principal, Charles Darwin Primary School, Jane Austen College and Sir Isaac Newton Free SchoolSian Jeffreys, Acting Head of School, Chetwynde SchoolKeith Gardner, Lead Proposer, City Gates SchoolMichaela Khatib, Executive Head, Cobham Free SchoolRaja Miah, CEO, Collective SpiritLauren Thorpe, Principal, Compass School SouthwarkDeborah Riley, Principal, Cramlington Village Primary SchoolRebecca Williams, Head teacher Designate, Crystal Palace Primary SchoolWendy Whelan, Executive Principal and Karen Hayes, Associate Principal, Derby Pride AcademyWesley Davies, Principal, Dixons McMillan AcademyMichelle Long, Principal, Dixons Music PrimaryLuke Sparkes, Principal, Dixons Trinity AcademyDavid Perks, Principal, East London Science SchoolShabir Fazal, Principal, Eden Boys' School, BoltonShahina Ahmad, Principal, Eden Girls' School, Waltham ForestSuvir Rai, Project Lead, Sarah Hanan-Bajwa, Trust Member, Jasbir Sihota, Trust Member, Kamal Kainth, Trust Member, Amrit Dokal, Principal Designate and Jasminder Grewal OBE, Education Governor, Edison Primary SchoolTitilayo Oluwatidimu, Director of Education, Emmanuel Community SchoolJoanna Wood, Principal, Essa Primary SchoolPhil Duffy, Executive Principal, Everton Free SchoolKerry Burnham, Headteacher, Exeter Mathematics SchoolRussell Plester, Headteacher Designate, Finham Park Free School 2James O'Shaughnessy, Managing Director, Floreat Education, on behalf of Floreat Alperton Primary, Floreat Brentford Primary and Floreat Southall PrimaryJoanne Haswell, Founder and Governor, Forest Bridge SchoolAlun Ebenezer, Headmaster, Fulham Boys SchoolKevin Sadler, CEO, Gateway Learning Community Trust on behalf of Gateway Primary Free SchoolLea Gilbert, Head Teacher, Gildredge House Free SchoolSir Iain Hall, Chair, Great Schools for All Children TrustGraham Taylor, Principal and Chief Executive, Great Western AcademySally Lockyer, Lead Proposer, Grove House SchoolLesley Falconer, Headteacher, Hackney New SchoolStephen Daley, Principal, Harmonize AcademyJames Handscombe, Principal, Harris Westminster Sixth Form AcademyDr Sue Attard, Executive Principal, Hatfield Community Free School and Jupiter Community Free SchoolDavid Castles, Principal, Heyford Park Free SchoolSimon Dudley, Chair of Governors, Holyport CollegePaul Weston, Chair of Governors, Hope Community SchoolDavid Holloway OBE, Leader and Founder, Ideas CollegeRachel De Souza, Chief Executive, Inspiration TrustStephen Boyd, Headmaster, Island Free SchoolNiki King, Headteacher, Ixworth Free SchoolHarnek Singh, Chair, Khalsa Education Trust, on behalf of Khalsa Science AcademyRose Codling, Principal, Khalsa Secondary SchoolDan Abramson, Headteacher and Alison Wolf, Founding Chair of Governors, King's College London Specialist Maths SchoolShane Ierston, Principal, King's Leadership AcademyDr Beverley Jacobson, Chief Executive, Kisharon Inclusive Free SchoolMark Peters, Founding Member and Director, Langdale Free SchoolSally Eaton B.Ed FRSA, Education Director, Langley Hall Primary AcademyKatie Parlett, Chair of Trust, Founder, Lighthouse SchoolBarnaby Lenon, Chair of Governors, London Academy of ExcellenceAshid Ali, Principal, London Enterprise AcademyGillian Coffey OBE, Executive Headteacher, Lynch Hill Enterprise AcademyRichard Scott, Executive Director, Maharishi SchoolMandy Southwick, Principal, MarchbankSiobhan Easton, Headteacher, Marine Academy PrimaryRichard Ardron, Headteacher, Marylebone Boys' SchoolAnne Burrell, Principal, Merchants' Academy, on behalf of Bristol Autism Free SchoolKatharine Birbalsingh, Headmistress, Michaela Community SchoolDavid Kelin, Vice Chair of Governors, Mosaic Jewish Primary SchoolStuart Leeming, CEO, New Islington Free School Trust, on behalf of New Islington Free SchoolNatalie Evans, Director, New Schools NetworkPalbinder Kaur Brom, Acting Headteacher, Nishkam Free SchoolDamien Kearns, Principal, Nishkam High SchoolHarmander Singh Dhanjal, Headteacher, Nishkam Primary School WolverhamptonTerry Green, Executive Principal and Brin Mahon, Director, Nishkam Schools TrustLee Bergin, Headmaster, North Cestrian SchoolKaren Cornick, Principal, North Somerset Enterprise and Technology CollegeMaggie Segrove, Principal, OakbankRiaz Shah, Chair, One Degree AcademyBarry Payne, Exceutive Head, Parkside School, on behalf of The Wherry SchoolRoger Leighton, Chief Executive, Partnership Learning, on behalf of Riverside SchoolJohnette Barrett, Founder Principal, Paxton Academy Sports and ScienceLiam Nolan, CEO and Jackie Powell, Executive Head, Perry Beeches Academy TrustKevin Rogers, Headteacher, Perry Beeches II The Free SchoolDarren Foreman, Headteacher, Perry Beeches III The Free SchoolRussell Bond, Headteacher, Perry Beeches IV The Free SchoolKelly Luen, Principal, Pimlico PrimarySimon Corns, Headmaster, Queen Elizabeth's Grammar SchoolAndrea Symonds, Principal, Rainbow Primary SchoolJenny Boyd, Headteacher, Rosewood SchoolRichard Bence, Chair of Governors, Route 39 AcademyTom Legge, Lead Proposer, Rugby Free Primary SchoolNeil Owen, Chair of Governors, Salisbury Sixth Form CollegeAndrew Howard, Principal, Sandymoor SchoolRob Cawley, Principal and CEO, Seckford Foundation Free Schools TrustDarren Lyon, Headmaster, Sir Thomas Fremantle Free SchoolRichard Gray, Deputy Headteacher, Southend YMCA Community Free SchoolNikki Hutchinson, Principal, St George's AcademyFr. David Stevenson, Founder/Proposer, St John’s Church of England Primary School, WatfordSteve Docking, Founder and Director, St Martin's AcademyAngie Browne, Principal, Steiner Academy BristolAlan Swindell, Principal, Steiner Academy ExeterTrevor Mepham, Principal and Guy Marson, Chair of Governors, Steiner Academy FromeSeamus Oates, Executive Headteacher TBAP Trust, TBAP 16-19 Academic AP AcademyNick Armitage, Interim Head Teacher, The Aspire AcademyNigel Youngman, Headteacher, The Beccles Free SchoolKathryn Cooper, Chair of Governors and Suzie Hobart, Governor, The Earl’s Court Free School Primary and The West London Free School PrimaryNichhatar Singh Kandola, Chairman, The Khalsa Academies TrustMark Featherstone-Witty OBE, CEO, The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, on behalf of LIPA Primary SchoolNusret Ellahi, Headteacher, The Olive School, BlackburnJo Appleyard, Executive Principal, The OrchardsRichard Booth, Headteacher, The Reach Free SchoolRebekah Taylor, Principal, The Ruth Gorse AcademyDavid Lees, Headteacher, The Saxmundham Free SchoolTristram Hobson, Headteacher, The Swanage SchoolToby Young, Chief Executive, Justin Tooth, Director and Jane Emmett, Director, The West London Free School Academy TrustHywel Jones, Headteacher, Ian Hunter, Chair of Governors, Professor Simon Hix, Governor and Dr Ian Katz, Governor, The West London Free School SecondaryMatteo Rossetti, Founder and Chair of Governors, Thomson House SchoolJohn Tomasevic, CEO, Torch Academy Gateway Trust, on behalf of Nottingham Free SchoolIan Burchett, Principal, Trafalgar CollegeJonathan Wilden, Headmaster, Wallington County Grammar School on behalf of WCGS Federation Free SchoolKarin Rowsell, Headteacher and Kerstyn Comley, Governor, Wapping High SchoolSusan Percy, Headteacher and Shelagh Keogh, Chair of Governors, West Newcastle Academy

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