"It’s fantastic to see almost 1.9 million more children in Good or Outstanding schools since 2010. The free school and academies reforms have transformed education and championed social justice across the country and the 444 open free schools have revitalised communities and delivered real opportunity for young people.
"It’s disappointing the Labour Against Private Schools campaign has mistakenly identified free schools alongside private and grammar schools. At NSN, we entirely agree on the importance of making sure all children have access to outstanding comprehensive schools. No primary or secondary free school selects on the basis of ability.
“It is no secret teacher recruitment and retention is one of the biggest issues facing the sector, but the fact that it is schools in disadvantaged areas struggling to recruit the most is particularly pernicious. If we are serious about tackling social injustice then we must do more to ensure our best teachers are placed in the schools that need them most. We agree with the Sutton Trust’s recommendation that pupil premium money would be well spent on recruiting and retaining great teachers.
Unity Howard, Deputy Director of NSN, said:
“We welcome the Labour Party’s call to empower local communities, which we have identified as a key priority to reinvigorate the free schools policy in our new report Free schools: the next 10 years.
“We welcome The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP’s comments, which show the importance of committing to communities being at the heart of the free school policy.
NSN is today calling on the Department for Education to allow parents and community groups who are running successful free schools to be allowed to take over other schools that are currently failing their pupils.
"Schools have always been at the heart of community-life and must have a meaningful role in the running and oversight of schools. Multi-academy trusts have been a force for good, transforming education in schools that have been left behind for too long. New Schools Network welcomes this report and agrees that schools working together is most likely to be successful in groups with joint governance, such as multi-academy trusts.
"As Suella Braverman’s report makes clear free schools have transformed the life chances of thousands of young people. However, education reform from programmes like free schools and academies have lost momentum over the past two years and we welcome Suella Bravermann’s call for the next Prime Minster to expand the reach of free schools.
"Education is key to ensuring our social and economic success. Free schools offer an educational lifeline, bringing not just great schooling, but a renewed sense of aspiration into communities that have been let down for too long.