The most recent application wave, which closed in November last year, saw 124 free school groups send in submissions. These applications were explicitly targeting areas of long-term educational underperformance in addition to providing school places where they were most needed, based off a list provided by the Department for Education (DfE).
Before joining Ofsted, Luke was Special Adviser to Nicky Morgan, the then Secretary of State for Education. In that role he led on the development of the Secretary of State’s policy priorities and acted as her chief spokesperson.
NSN’s figures, based on an FOI request, have shown that free schools are more likely to be first choice for students than any other school type.
Across the cohort, free schools received an average of 1.13 first preferences for each place available for the academic year 2018-19. This is despite having more available places per school than the national average.
Sigrun Olafsdottir, Chief Operating Officer, said:
"The application process to set up a free school is extremely rigorous and time consuming, so all groups can be proud of their hard work to reach this stage. This is particularly true in this round of free school applications, which explicitly targets areas of greatest need.
Effective from the first of November, Sigrun Olafsdottir will take on the day-to-day running of NSN as Chief Operating Officer. Unity Howard will also take up a new role as Head of Advisory Services. The Trustees will soon be launching the recruitment process for a permanent Director.
This is the second year running that free schools have topped the tables, having been the strongest performer last year with an average score of 0.15.
Number of schools
Number of pupils at end of Key Stage 4
The announcement follows strong support from the Prime Minister, who last week confirmed the Government would build more free schools in a bid to ensure every child has access to a good school.
In her speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Theresa May stated that the Government would build more free schools to raise standards and improve parental choice. In addition, Damian Hinds confirmed continued investment in free schools.
The announcement follows last week’s provisional Key Stage One and Phonics results which showed free schools were once again the highest performers at these stages. Last year, free schools were also the top performing type of school at GCSE and had the highest proportion of students gaining AAB at A-Level across the state-funded sector.