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.
“Free schools were the top performing type of school at GCSE in 2017, are more likely to be oversubscribed, and are more likely to be judged outstanding by Ofsted. They are explicitly targeted in areas of basic need and poor performance, so the policy really is reaching those often forgotten in education policy. Having set-up Bedford Free School, I know first-hand how difficult opening a free school is; equally, I know how rewarding it is to see local families able to access the top quality education that they so deserve.”