NSN Director, Unity Howard, responds to the Secretary of State's column for The Times Red Box.
"It is fantastic to see the Secretary of State reaffirm the importance of innovation in the free school policy, as well as to commit to more special and alternative provision free schools, as recommended in our recent report Free schools: the next 10 years.
“Innovative free schools are trailblazers who are transforming the life chances of children around this country, but we need more of them.
“Special and AP free schools have such a significant impact on the lives of pupils who attend them. There are so many fantastic examples, such as The Fermain Academy, Harmonize AP Academy and Derby Pride Academy, where last month 80% of students received 5 GCSEs against the national average for APs of 12.3%.
"It was disappointing to see only two applications to establish AP free schools approved in the latest special and AP round; even more so, the lack of local authorities bidding to open AP free schools is worrying. The staff in these schools are the unsung heroes of the education sector and more of these is a very welcome announcement."