Statement from NSN's Trustees

Since 2009, New Schools Network (NSN) has worked tirelessly to advocate for and support the free schools programme. There is now a thriving free school community made up of 610 schools, plus over 200 free schools approved to open, that brings innovation and academic excellence to the system. We have been proud to play our part in supporting these schools. 

Today we are sharing the news that from 1st April we will no longer be providing free school support under a Department for Education (DfE) contract. The DfE has prioritised support for new free school generation and support to applicants, and will no longer be funding wider support services for open and approved free schools now that there is a thriving free school community. The new delivery partner is Premier Advisory Group, and we will work with them over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition. 

David Ross, Chair of NSN said:

“Across the country, free schools are proving time and time again their popularity with parents. Both in Ofsted terms and in raising educational standards, they are outperforming all other types of school in both primary and secondary phases. Some of the best schools in the country are now free schools.

“Free schools are an established part of the landscape, providing a rich contribution to raising standards – be that through Reach Academy Feltham in Hounslow or XP in Doncaster, Dixons in Bradford or Derby Pride Academy – these schools have raised the bar, and are improving education in and beyond their communities. 

“We are pleased that free schools remain an important part of this government’s plan to level up standards and respond where there is need for more school places. The programme has delivered hundreds of new schools and provided thousands of good school places across the country.

“The Board of Trustees would like to thank everyone who has supported NSN’s drive for more free schools, including NSN’s staff body, and wish all free schools the very best for the future.”

As NSN reflects on and celebrates its legacy to date, the Board of Trustees are clear that the organisation will continue to focus on achieving its collective vision of a country where every child has an equal chance to succeed in life, irrespective of their background.

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