Free schools across the country offer some of the most innovative practices in the state sector. East London Arts and Music (ELAM) is a fine example of this.
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"I am pleased to see the implementation of the behaviour hubs programme has been announced today. There is no one size fits all solution for improving behaviour and the range of expertise brought together through this group will undoubtedly help the entire sector improve. Too often the debate in this area means that schools operate in a significantly challenging environment- this is a practical programme to help support schools and academy trusts gain access to the best of the best in our system.
From pheasants flying into windows to becoming table tennis champions, leaders at the The Reach Free School (TRFS) in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire are no strangers to the challenges faced by schools in temporary accommodation. During a recent Spotlight visit to the school, we heard first-hand from Founding Headteacher Richard Booth about how the school managed to thrive during its five years on a temporary site.
"For the vast proportion of school leaders to be concerned about fairness in their admissions process is worrying. The system for school preferences shouldn’t be a complex web, locking out families from leading schools, but a system to empower parents to choose the best education for their child.
"Much of the work being done by schools should be highly commended and I am incredibly proud that disadvantaged pupils perform more highly at free schools than at other state-funded schools. But without fair access to high-performing schools for all pupils, social justice is lost.
For principal designates (PDs) taking up post at a new free school opening in 2020, it can be easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day details of their school, whether this be their site, pupil recruitment or ensuring they have a functioning internet connection. PDs need to be able to see beyond these immediate obstacles so that they can remind themselves of why they first embarked on their free school journey and what they have to look forward to in their first year of opening.
When groups are in the final stages of opening their free school, it is crucial that they feel prepared and confident for what faces them in the year ahead. The first day of this year’s two-day event for 2020 free school openers sought to give advice and reassurance to all pre-open groups in attendance through a crash course in everything free school: from admissions to pupil recruitment and the all-important readiness to open meeting (ROM).
Out of site out of mind
Free Schools in the media
Headteacher, Mrs Pamela Leek-Wright said:
“Governors with no prior association with the school bring much to the table. Their board-level knowledge and experience help us plan and shape the strategic direction of the school’s educational offer and provision.
“School governors contribute significantly to students’ education, opportunities and their futures, and our educational offer advances thanks to their leadership experience and business expertise.”
Free Schools in the media
This opens up the potential for the school’s senior department to decant from its current temporary accommodation in West Molesey and relocate to their permanent facility in Cobham ahead of the previously scheduled date of September 2021. The sixth form is already based at the Munro House site, following its successful opening in September 2019.