Following the publication of the Oldham Education and Skills Commission’s report this week, the New Schools Network – the charity that aims to improve the quality of education by increasing the number of free schools – has written to the best schools in Oldham, asking them to consider replicating their own success by founding their own free schools.
"The vested interests attacking free schools today are simply wrong. The problem is not new free schools but those who seek to block new free schools for political purposes. Anybody who cares about the future of education and the prospects of children up and down the country should come together and work to get new schools open. Free schools are the only way of meeting the need for rising demand for school places and improving standards where schools have been failing for too long."
Research by the New Schools Network has found that more than 100,000 school places have been created in schools that are already struggling. With the school age population forecast to rise by nearly 900,000 in the next ten years, local authorities are working to create new places. But 113,000 of these new places created in the last five years are in schools that are lagging behind.
++ Schools in the least affluent areas account for only 85,000 entries for Biology, Chemistry and Physics GCSEs, compared to 160,000 from advantaged schools ++
++ Pupils in most deprived schools opting instead for ‘Film Studies’ and ‘Health & Social Care’ ++
New research has found that students in the most deprived schools are half as likely as those from more affluent schools to be entered for individual GCSEs in Chemistry, Biology, and Physics
"When the old pioneers of education talked about the “three Rs” they knew what they were talking about.
“With over 200,000 children trapped in failing schools and leaving school without a decent set of qualifications, the North/South divide is writ large. What’s more, there is little prospect of this changing as technically there is no shortage of places in almost all of these places and so very few new schools are opening. Free schools are twice as likely as other schools to be rated outstanding; we desperately need more of them in areas, like the North, where children are being badly let down.”
“The reality of a North/South divide in education is all too well-established. Unfortunately, in areas where children are less likely to be able to access a good school, they are also less likely to see new schools opening up. Many of the worst-performing regions have no shortage of school places so local authorities have little motivation to open good new schools. If we are serious about changing the story of long-standing inequality between North and South, low standards should be spurring the creation of great new schools.”
++ Estimated 12,000 pupils switch school because they are bullied ++
++ In year transfers “devastating” for pupils ++
++ Parents risking in-year moves to get first choice school ++
New research has found that last year an estimated 12,000 pupils moved schools because they were being bullied. Data obtained by the New Schools Network from local authorities for Anti-Bullying Month showed that, for these children, bullying was severe enough that they were forced to move schools.