Responding to the announcement that 55 education 'cold spots' will be prioritised as locations for new specialist sixth form free schools, NSN Director Sophie Harrison-Byrne said:
“As our report published last year showed, too many families simply do not have the opportunity to access a high-quality education. That is why it is right for new specialists 16-19 free schools to be prioritised in areas of limited provision and high deprivation.
"16-19 free schools like Harris Westminster, London Academy of Excellence, and King's Maths School are well established as some of the best post-16 providers in the country - but they, and so many others, are in London and the South. For opportunity to be levelled up, it’s essential that the success of these schools is replicated in education cold spots that have yet to benefit from the free schools programme.
“In too many areas, provision up to 16 is not good enough, and good post-16 provision is not the silver bullet that will transform outcomes alone. That is why it will be critical new 16-19 free schools also replicate the fantastic outreach of schools like King’s and LAE – including GCSE teaching and transition support – so that the full opportunities awarded by excellent post-16 provision are realised.
"We look forward to supporting groups to open free schools across Education Investment Areas in the coming years, and hope that all children will have access to the very best schooling available at post-16 and before."