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.
Free School News
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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.
Free Schools in the media
Under Ofsted's new framework, which came into effect in September, it is now much harder for schools to achieve the top rating. Indeed, a number of schools inspected this term have seen their ratings fall under the tougher and more challenging framework.
Westside School has bucked the trend with a highly positive report in which it is judged Outstanding in every category. The inspectors who spent two days at the school began their glowing report by simply stating that students "get a great deal" in the school.
"We are delighted to see the positive progress in UK PISA scores, especially the improvement in Reading and Maths. These reflect the hard work of staff, pupils and governors in schools across England who show the system is one that competes with the best internationally. There is, of course, more work to be done but we are trending in the right direction.
This week New Schools Network released a new video showcasing some of the life-changing work happening in free schools across the country. Although the statistics on free schools demonstrate their national impact, the stories of the people that live and breathe them on a daily basis – students, teachers and parents – are the ones that really matter.