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NSN News

Thu 29 March 2018

Mark Lehain, Interim Director, said:

"Combined with today’s announcement regarding the approval of 14 new special free schools, it reassures me that the free schools programme continues to be a priority for the government. With the next window of free schools likely to open in due course, NSN will continue to play an integral role in helping to drive up the standard of education across the country. I look forward to continuing to work with you over the coming months." 

Tue 27 March 2018

The Trustees of New Schools Network today announced Mark Lehain as the Interim Director of the free schools charity. Having worked in education for 15 years, Mark was the founder of the Bedford Free School, one of the first free schools in the country.

Bedford Free School thrived under Mark’s leadership and together with Elstow School, is now part of the newly created Advantage Schools multi-academy trust. Mark left Bedford Free School in 2017 to take up post as the Director of campaign group, Parents and Teachers for Excellence.

Fri 23 March 2018

The Trustees of New Schools Network today announced that Toby Young has resigned. Toby has concluded that the media attention his continuing presence at the helm of NSN is attracting has become a distraction from the vital work it is doing and, for that reason, he has decided to step down. The Trustees will be announcing the appointment of an Interim Director in due course. The Trustees are grateful for Toby's work during his time here and wish him well in his future endeavours.

Thu 25 January 2018

They outperformed all other types of school, with converter academies following behind with an aggregate score of 0.10

School Type

Average Progress 8 Score

Free schools


Converter academies


Wed 13 December 2017

The New Schools Network welcomes the news that free schools will have a critical role to play in Justine Greening’s Social Mobility Action Plan, which will put social mobility at the heart of the Government’s education policy.


Wed 15 November 2017

Since the first free schools opened in 2011, critics have been claiming that they increase social segregation because they cater exclusively to white, middle class, English children. But the EPI report says that free schools have an above average number of non-white children and children whose first language is not English.

Tue 31 October 2017

Anthony was an image consultant and voice coach who worked with people such as Sebastian Coe, Ban Ki-moon and Kate Middleton. He served as a trustee of NSN from 2012 to 2014.

Natalie Evans, former Director of NSN, said: “Anthony was dedicated to helping young people achieve their potential through his leadership and communication programmes. He was a committed supporter of the free school programme and will be sorely missed by all of us who have been involved in NSN.”

Thu 12 October 2017

They have drawn level with Converter Academies, which were in first place last year, and outperformed all other types of school.

School Type

Average Progress 8 Score

Free schools