53 new free schools and one University Technical College will open their doors, creating up to 40,000 new school places across the country.
The new openers have been set up by multi-academy trusts, charities and community groups and often provide specialist education for pupils.
Among those opening this week are the Saracens High School, which will be supported by Saracens Rugby Club – a partnership between local schools and Middlesex University to boost pupils’ education through sport. Free schools are among the highest performing state-funded schools in the country and many are in disadvantaged areas, helping to improve education for every child, such as Tauheedul Islam Boys High School, Blackburn, The Reach Academy Feltham and Dixons Trinity Academy which all received top GCSE grades in 2017.
The announcement is part of a government drive to ensure more families have access to a good school place, which will see the creation of one million places between 2010 and 2020 – the fastest increase for two generations.
Schools opening this September will range from primary schools to sixth form colleges, with some tailored specifically to provide technical education. The new openers include:
- Saracens High School in Barnet – a mainstream secondary school which will provide 1,130 places, including a 230 place sixth-form. This will be the first school opened by a The Saracens Multi-Academy Trust, which includes Saracens Sport Foundation and Middlesex University.
- Bolder Academy in Hounslow – which is being set up by a group of local headteachers and has teamed up with Sky to deliver in-school and extra-curricular activities in sport, media and technology. It will offer 1,150 places, of which 250 will be sixth-form.
- John Taylor Free School in Staffordshire – will be the first new 11-18 secondary school to open in Staffordshire for a generation. The school will offer 1,440 places and form part of the successful John Taylor Multi-Academy Trust which has consistently had strong results with some of the highest performing schools in the region.
- Red Kite Special Academy in Northamptonshire – a special provision school for 100 pupils with severe learning difficulties and those on the autistic spectrum. The school is part of the Kingsley Learning Foundation Trust between the Kingsley School and the Red Kite Free School.
- North East Futures University Technical College in Newcastle – will specialise in healthcare science and digital technology. The University Technical College is part of the Tyne Coast Academy Trust (TCAT) and has been set up in partnership with the University of Sunderland and businesses including Accenture, Ubisoft and Newcastle-upon-Tyne NHS Trust.
Of those inspected by Ofsted, 85% of free schools are rated good or outstanding, while 31% are rated outstanding. In 2017, two of the top 10 Progress 8 scores for state-funded schools in England were achieved by free schools.
The new openers announced today take the total number of these schools open to 520 since 2010 and means more than 120 in 152 local authorities now have at least one free school, studio school or university technical college in their area. The Department has committed to approving a further 110 new schools by 2020.
The new schools open as 20 local authorities across the country are set to receive a share of a £50 million funding boost to support the creation of new free schools where they are needed most. The Presumption Free School Grant will help pay to build the new free schools and will create around 15,000 places across the country. The Department will work closely with the 20 local authorities selected for the Presumption Free School Grant to support the building of the new schools.