The Lighthouse School Leeds was the first special free school to open its doors, opening in 2012 for seven children with autistic spectrum condition (ASC). The school, which was opened by a group of parents, is now over capacity with 80 students. The school was judged Good by Ofsted in 2017, and leaders now face pressure to expand the school to create more much needed special school places in Leeds.
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LAE’s students have broken records for the 5th year running, with 37 students, almost half of this year’s applicants, receiving offers to study at Cambridge and Oxford colleges in 2020. This takes the school to a total of 129 offers since its first cohort received their university offers in 2014.
"The crisis of ‘stuck schools’ has been a longstanding concern for NSN and we welcome Ofsted’s commitment to taking action by proposing reforms.
"It is a scandal that over 200,000 children are left forgotten in ‘stuck schools’. This change is part of a wider set of measures required to address this challenge. And we wholeheartedly agree the carousel of consultants is doing more harm than good.
When it was introduced in 2010, the free schools programme was designed to empower parents, teachers, charities and businesses to revitalise communities and deliver educational opportunity for young people. Where they exist, new schools are offering parental choice and innovation, and delivering positive outcomes for the children who attend them. However, academy and free school reforms have stagnated in recent years, and NSN believes that the sector is in need of reinvigoration.
The banning of anti-LGBT protests against inclusive relationships and sex education (RSE) at Anderton Park Primary School by the High Court is a win for diversity and inclusion in England’s schools. However, diversity and inclusion must go beyond what is taught in RSE.
"The NEU’s figures are deliberately misleading – but these tactics are wholly unsurprising given the reality of free schools’ success.
Our education system has gaps that cannot continue to go unnoticed. Throughout this election little time has been spent looking at how we can support our most vulnerable- children in special and alternative provision (AP) schools.
Developing a strong rapport with the LA can also be the key to getting approval from local residents. Unity Community Primary School, for instance, uses input from its LA to challenge and support school leaders. Free schools and LAs both want what is best for local students, so this consideration should come before everything else.