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NSN News

Thu 11 October 2018

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.

Wed 3 October 2018

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.

Mon 24 September 2018

Mark Lehain, Interim Director, said: “We know that with a rising school population we will need more school places across the country, and free schools are the best means of meeting this need. They are the most cost effective way to create new school places, and are on course to provide more than 400,000 places in areas of need. Without free schools these places would be created by expanding existing schools, placing further pressure on schools that are already at capacity. 

Fri 11 May 2018

Mark Lehain, Interim Director, said:

"Today's announcement is great news for the free school policy. We know the difference that these schools can make across the country and it's fantastic to hear that the new application window has opened. This is going to lead to great new schools being set up in the areas that desperately need them, and we look forward to helping them in this process."

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