Free school story: The Island Free School

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Set up by a group of local parents and teachers, The Island Free School aims to raise standards on the Isle of Wight, one of England’s lowest performing local authorities.

The Isle of Wight is a beautiful place but its picture-postcard setting hides a long history of educational failure. All but one of its schools are rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted, with GCSE results some of the lowest in the country.

The Island Free School was set up to change this story, by offering a smaller, more personalised type of education than the other secondary schools on the island. The school has high academic expectations for its pupils, with all of them expected to study subjects leading towards the English Baccalaureate, including Latin.

The school also has a music specialism and offers every child the chance to learn a musical instrument.Its longer school day offers more time for learning and allows pupils to take advantage of the school’s location on the south coast of the island, with the extensive range of extra-curricular activities on offer including activities such as sailing and rock climbing.

NSN followed the Island Free School as it got ready to open its doors for the first time in September 2014. This is their story: