NSN welcomes Ofsted’s consultation on proposed changes to its inspection framework and the level of detail provided in the accompanying inspection handbook and curriculum research.
The new free schools will cover the breadth of the country, including nine in the north, five in Yorkshire and the Humber and five in the Midlands, providing specialist provision for children with social, emotional and mental health needs, children on the autism spectrum and those with Complex Learning Difficulties. They join 76 open special and AP free schools and a further 66 approved but not yet open.
Luke Tryl, Director of New Schools Network, said:
The most recent application wave, which closed in November last year, saw 124 free school groups send in submissions. These applications were explicitly targeting areas of long-term educational underperformance in addition to providing school places where they were most needed, based off a list provided by the Department for Education (DfE).
Before joining Ofsted, Luke was Special Adviser to Nicky Morgan, the then Secretary of State for Education. In that role he led on the development of the Secretary of State’s policy priorities and acted as her chief spokesperson.
NSN’s figures, based on an FOI request, have shown that free schools are more likely to be first choice for students than any other school type.
Across the cohort, free schools received an average of 1.13 first preferences for each place available for the academic year 2018-19. This is despite having more available places per school than the national average.
Sigrun Olafsdottir, Chief Operating Officer, said:
"The application process to set up a free school is extremely rigorous and time consuming, so all groups can be proud of their hard work to reach this stage. This is particularly true in this round of free school applications, which explicitly targets areas of greatest need.
Effective from the first of November, Sigrun Olafsdottir will take on the day-to-day running of NSN as Chief Operating Officer. Unity Howard will also take up a new role as Head of Advisory Services. The Trustees will soon be launching the recruitment process for a permanent Director.
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.