"Thanks to the hard work and dedication of staff and students, free schools have topped performance rankings at Key Stage 5 and are beginning to outperform leading private schools in England.
"The crisis of ‘stuck schools’ has been a longstanding concern for NSN and we welcome Ofsted’s commitment to taking action by proposing reforms.
"It is a scandal that over 200,000 children are left forgotten in ‘stuck schools’. This change is part of a wider set of measures required to address this challenge. And we wholeheartedly agree the carousel of consultants is doing more harm than good.
"The NEU’s figures are deliberately misleading – but these tactics are wholly unsurprising given the reality of free schools’ success. 30% of free schools are Ofsted Outstanding, compared to 19% of all other schools nationally, and again and again we see parents voting with their feet, choosing their local free school as their school of choice.
"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.
"Justice’s ‘Challenging School Exclusions’ report demonstrates the damaging consequences in the shortage of provision for children at risk of exclusion, particularly those with complex needs. It is not acceptable that disadvantaged pupils, children with SEND and those from minority backgrounds are being excluded, sometimes illegally.
1. Put education reform at the heart of the next Government
Education and improving the life chances of children in England is key to ensuring our social and economic success. Unfortunately, the successful free schools and academy reforms started by Labour and built on by the Conservatives have stagnated in recent years. The sector is lacking a direction of travel.
The education charity that supports the creation of free schools within communities where education standards are low, have set four priorities for the next government to adopt – putting education reform at the heart of the next Government; opening one hundred new schools every year; investing in the provision for pupils at risk of exclusion and gang violence; and finally, reforming the system to make provision for pupils with special education needs (SEN) fairer.
"We welcome this new fund from the London Mayor, to help support children struggling to thrive in mainstream schools and reduce exclusions.