New Schools Network welcomes Prime Minister’s free schools pledge | newschoolsnetwork.org

New Schools Network welcomes Prime Minister’s free schools pledge

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
New Schools Network (NSN) welcomes the Government’s commitment to building 100 new free schools for each year of this parliament. Yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister is a vote of confidence in the free schools programme. If 100 open each year between now and 2022, that means we’re on track for 1,000 open free schools by the end of this Parliament.

Free schools are already producing outstanding exam results, with the most recent Key Stage 1 data showing free schools outperforming all other school types. In August, free schools posted some of the best results in the country at GCSE and A level, with the King’s College London Mathematics School, a free school in Lambeth, topping the A level league table.

According to the Department for Education, a further 420,000 new school places are needed between 2016 and 2021. Free schools are a cost-effective way of meeting this need, costing 29 percent less to build per square metre than the last administration’s Building Schools for the Future programme.

They are also in those parts of the country where we need new places. The Department for Education estimates that more than 80% of free schools opened or approved to open since 2013 are in areas where there’s a demographic need for more places. 93% of the places approved in Wave 12 are in areas where there’s a demographic need. These are often in disadvantaged areas. There are three times as many open free schools in England’s most deprived areas than in the least deprived areas.

Finally, free schools are also more popular with parents than any other type of school and more likely to be rated Outstanding. To date, 29 percent of free schools have been ranked Outstanding.

Toby Young, Director of the New Schools Network, said:

“It is great to hear the Prime Minister reiterate this commitment to creating more free schools. We know that many more school places will be needed over the coming years, and free schools are the best way of meeting this need. Free schools are producing fantastic results at all stages and we expect them to continue to excel in the coming years.”

The speech can be found here (1:32:04)