Free school founder to be Director of New Schools Network

The trustees of New Schools Network today announced that Toby Young, journalist and co-founder of the West London Free School, has been appointed as Director of New Schools Network and will take up the role full-time in January.

David Ross, Chair of Trustees at New Schools Network said:

“We were fortunate enough to have a very strong field of candidates to choose from for this appointment. Not only did Toby Young impress the board with his passion for improving education, but he set out a compelling vision for developing NSN and the free school policy in the coming years. Although this drew in part on his experience as a free school founder, we were most excited by his ambitious ideas for building on NSN’s existing efforts to get schools, teachers, charities and community organisations involved in setting up schools where they can make a difference to their communities.

Toby Young said:

“I’m absolutely delighted. I’ve been a fan of New Schools Network since its inception and have often relied on its advice in the course of helping to set up several free schools. To be given the opportunity to lead this superb organisation and help others set up new schools is a huge privilege.”

Toby’s first action was to write to all free school leaders and those currently in the process of setting up schools to introduce himself. He also used this letter to assure them he will be taking a non-partisan stance and that his appointment does not mean NSN will only support similar schools to the West London Free School in future. Read the full letter on NSN’s blog.

Read more about this story in The Times, TES and the Guardian

New Director of NSN calls for spending commitment for 750 new schools open or approved in this parliament.

During his first interviews as Director of New Schools Network, Toby Young, free school founder and journalist, called on the Government to increase their target from 500 news schools by 2020 to 750.

“The free schools programme is so successful; we are already well on our way to achieving the 500 new schools promised at the beginning of this parliament. However, the need for new places goes far beyond this. There will be an increase in the pupil population of 458,000 between now and 2020 and I hope the Government will be able to find the money to meet this need.

“Free schools are already proving that they can quickly provide high-quality new school places. They are also the most cost effective way of doing this unless you force existing schools to stick temporary classrooms in their playgrounds.”

“Even without the proposals in the recent Green Paper – which would open the door to a wide range of new organisations to set up free schools – NSN is working with an unprecedented number of high-quality proposer groups, from 46 in the first half of this year to 119 in the second. There is real momentum behind the free schools programme and It would be a shame if it was derailed by a lack of funding.

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