NSN’s analysis combined the need for both places and school standards to identify the ten areas most in need of new secondary schools over the coming years as the population bulge moves from primary to secondary age. The research looked at areas which underperformed at GCSE, achieving below the national average for progress and attainment, and which are predicted to run out of school places over the coming years.
Secondary Places Needed by 2024
Any Sustained Education or Employment
Proportion of Pupils Not Getting First Choice School
Disadvantaged Pupils in Underperforming Schools
Telford and Wrekin
Kingston upon Hull,
The list ranges from coastal areas such as Thanet, which is one of the lowest performers on Progress eight in the country, to Wolverhampton, where the number of parents getting their first choice secondary school is 10 percentage points below the national average, and major cities such as Manchester, where one in every ten student does not move onto further education, employment or training after finishing school.
The analysis also highlights that in some areas, two in every three disadvantaged students will be stuck in schools that Ofsted deems to be underperforming. This means that the pupils most in need of the opportunity that an excellent education can bring are the ones being denied it. This builds on recent analysis, which identified that poorer pupils were more likely to attend failing schools.
The New Schools Network is calling on parents, community groups and existing schools to come together to open new innovative free schools in these areas. NSN has also written to every Member of Parliament and Council Leader in these communities to enlist their support for new schools that will address the need for pupil places and help to drive up educational standards.
Free schools are 50% more likely to be found Outstanding by Ofsted, achieve better GCSE and A-Level results than other schools, and are more popular with parents and students. The motivation behind the programme was to empower communities to come together and create a new school where they are most needed. NSN is calling on the Government to ensure there is still the opportunity for community groups to come through the free school process in line with the original purpose of the programme.
Luke Tryl, Director of NSN, said:
“In the 10 areas we have identified there is a desperate need for new schools, as they face a toxic mix of poor standards and growing pupil need. The situation is most critical for disadvantaged pupils, the very pupils most in need of an excellent education, yet who in these areas are too often being denied it.
“Getting access to a good education shouldn’t be a postcode lottery. Yet our analysis finds that children leaving primary school in each of these areas risk either ending up in cramped classrooms, or in schools that simply aren’t good enough”
“I want to work directly with parents to see how we can help ensure their children get the quality education they deserve. In each of these areas we want to see parents, politicians, community groups and schools working together to open new schools as part of the next wave of free schools. And we need the Department to back these groups and allow them to join the hundreds of other great free schools, raising standards and giving every child the chance to reach their full potential.”