Statement from NSN's Trustees

The Board of Trustees for the New Schools Network is today announcing its decision to wind down the charity’s operations.

Since 2009, New Schools Network has supported the creation of 610 schools which otherwise wouldn’t exist, as well over 200 that are still in the pipeline. During that time, NSN has supported every wave of the free schools programme, working with hundreds of groups wanting to set up free schools. There is now a thriving free schools community right across the country, which brings innovation and academic excellence to the system.

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 very best schools in the country are now free schools, including King’s Leadership Academy Warrington, XP in Doncaster, Reach Feltham in Hounslow, Derby Pride Academy, and Lighthouse School in Leeds. 

With free schools now a fully embedded and established part of the education system, NSN’s original mission to cement the role of free schools has been achieved. The Department for Education’s (DfE’s) free school support services have now fully transitioned to Premier Advisory Group and the Board of Trustees have taken the decision to begin the wind-down of the charity. 

NSN has also delivered the Academy Ambassadors programme since 2013, which has resulted in over 2,000 non-executive director, trustee and member matches to academy trust boards. These Ambassadors - all volunteers - have brought their independent expertise, perspectives and insights from business, the professions and education to academy trusts. They have provided non-executive support at the highest level and supported executive leaders to provide the best education for their pupils through strong governance and a shared moral purpose. 

Following a competitive tendering process, the DfE recently selected NSN as its preferred bidder to deliver the Academy Ambassadors programme in the coming years. NSN has now withdrawn from the bidding process and so the department will be reviewing the Academy Ambassadors programme.

David Ross, Chair of NSN said:

“NSN has played a central role in education reform for the last 12 years and this has not been an easy decision. 

“But we are proud of the role we have played over the years and the legacy we leave – both in terms of supporting free schools that have raised the bar in standards, and improved education forever, and by changing the face of academy governance through the Academy Ambassadors programme, working in particular to support some of the highest need trusts.

“NSN has been a pioneering force for good, improving standards for hundreds of thousands of pupils and creating strong bonds between schools, staff, parents, and those outside education. 

“Whilst this is the end for NSN, I am confident that the free schools programme will continue to play an important role in the Government’s drive to level up, and to ensure that every child has access to an excellent education.”



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