Responding to a new survey of multi-academy trusts by The Key, Director of New Schools Network, Unity Howard, said:
"It is vital that Government policy focusses on areas of the country that have been left behind and schools that have been struggling for decades. To deliver the high expectations parents want from our schools, equal scrutiny for Ofsted inspections is essential, particularly under the new framework.
"It is deeply concerning that 20% of families failed to gain a place at their first preference school as demonstrated in this report. It is an injustice that in many parts of the country, parents have no option other than to send their children to schools that are not good enough. Children only have one chance at an education and they must be able to have the best possible.
The Trustees are grateful for Luke’s work to date and wish him well in his future endeavours. The news comes as Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP, has indicated that free schools are one of his top three priorities for this Government.
Unity Howard, incoming Director at NSN, said:
"The widening attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is unacceptable. The future of opportunity, social justice and pupils in school right now will depend on our ability to tackle this issue head on. We must open more high performing new free schools, in areas that have been left behind, to address these imbalances.
"Many parents who home school do so well, and should have nothing to fear from a quality check to ensure their children are receiving a decent standard of education. For the minority who do not or who are using home schooling as a pretext for sending children to illegal unregistered schools, local councils need to know what is going on and be able to take action quickly.
"79% of academies and free schools are already Good or Outstanding and highly trusted by parents. With over 50% of pupils now in academies the time is right to broaden public confidence in academy trusts. Academy trusts are the single legal entity responsible for the education of all pupils in their schools. The quality of scrutiny matters most.
Scholarship funding is available for these courses until at least March 2020. This means that any schools in category 5 and 6 areas – where children make the least progress and have poorest access to high-quality schools – are eligible for fully funded NPQ places at any level. It also means that all staff in a multi-academy trust which has at least one school in a category 5 or 6 area would be eligible for a fully funded place, across the trust.