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.
Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education, is expected to announce tomorrow that the next phase of the free schools programme will focus on areas of educational underperformance, bringing the benefits of free schools to more challenging parts of England. To date, 30% of free schools inspected by Ofsted have been ranked ‘Outstanding’ compared to a national average of 21%.
Toby Young, Director of New Schools Network, said: “If you look at this year’s GCSE results for free schools like Dixons Trinity Academy in Bradford, Tauheedul Islam Boys' High School in Blackburn and King’s Leadership Academy in Warrington, it is not surprising that free schools feature in the Social Mobility Action Plan.
“These schools have demonstrated that the American ‘no excuses’ model, which has proved so effective at raising the attainment of disadvantaged students in cities like New York, Boston and Chicago, is equally effective at raising attainment in some of England’s most deprived areas.”
When it comes to A level results, the highest-attaining school in the country is the King’s College London Mathematics School in Lambeth, a free school that opened in 2014. Overall, free school pupils at Key Stage 5 (16-18-year-olds) are getting better results than pupils in any other type of school.
Free schools also did well in this year’s GCSE results. At Reach Academy Feltham, a free school in Hounslow that Justine Greening is intending to single out for praise tomorrow, 96% of pupils got grade 4 or above in English and maths combined, compared to under 60% nationally. Overall, free schools were joint top of the Progress 8 (11-16-year-olds) league table in 2017, alongside academy convertors.
In Key Stage 1 (5-7-year-olds), free schools topped the attainment table in 2017 for the third year running.