News story

79 new schools now approved to open from 2012 onwards

Gove: “Free School and UTC pioneers are leading a revolution in the education system – this is vital for our economic growth.”

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Government has approved 79 new, state-funded schools to open from September 2012 onwards. They are being set up by teachers, charities, universities, employers, and other groups in response to demand from local parents and industry.

They include:

  • 55 new mainstream and 16-19 Free Schools
  • 13 new University Technical Colleges (UTCs).

In addition, a further eight Free Schools and three UTCs are already working on setting up their schools to open in September 2012 and beyond.

Some alternative provision Free Schools, special Free Schools and Studio Schools are likely to be approved later this year.

Free Schools and UTCs will increase choice for parents and pupils in communities across the country and significantly, the vast majority are in disadvantaged areas. They are central to the Government’s drive to raise education standards for all, regardless of their background or family circumstances. The make up of the new Free Schools announced today reflects the Government’s commitment to improving social mobility, with education reform at the core. UTCs will play an important role in ensuring that young people have the skills that employers demand - which is crucial for economic growth.

Free Schools are funded by the Government and, like academies, have greater freedoms than local authority run schools. They are run by teachers and have freedom over the length of the school day, the curriculum and how they spend their money.

Of the Free Schools aiming to open from 2012 onwards, 21 are primary schools, 33 are secondary schools, eight are all-through schools and one is a 16-19 school. More than two thirds have proposed sites which are situated in the 50 per cent most deprived areas of the country. Others will meet additional need for schools places, meaning that more than 90 per cent of successful applicants have proposed school sites in areas that are deprived or crying out for places.

UTCs are academies for 14-19-year-olds. They focus on providing technical education that meets the needs of modern business. They offer full-time courses, which focus on technical specialisms and academic studies. These specialisms include engineering, science technologies and health care. All UTCs are sponsored by a local university and employers. In total, more than 130 employers are involved in the 13 UTCs. Among them are household names like Silverstone race track, the Royal Navy, Procter & Gamble, Rolls-Royce, and BlackBerry.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

The people who are driving Free Schools and UTCs are true pioneers. They are leading a revolution in the education system.

These new schools allow talented and experienced people to be imaginative and bold in creating great new schools. They will offer more choice to parents in the type of education their child receives, and will raise standards in many communities where the need is great.

UTCs are also a key part of the Government’s drive to provide school leavers with the technical knowledge and skills that industry demands. This is vital for our economic growth.

The new Free Schools will join the 24 that opened in September 2011.

The new Free Schools approved include:

  • Brighton Bilingual Primary School, which plans to teach in English for 50 per cent of the time, and Spanish for the other 50 per cent of the time.
  • Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy, set up by Cuckoo Hall Academy - an outstanding primary academy in Enfield. This follows the successful opening of Woodpecker Hall Free School in September.
  • School 21 - an all-age Free School in Newham dedicated to helping pupils from the most deprived areas.
  • The King’s School Woolston, which will be a new secondary school in Warrington. It is being set up by local parents and teachers and is strengthened by the leadership of Sir Iain Hall as Chief Executive of the Trust. Sir Ian is an experienced head teacher, education adviser and co-founder of Future Leaders.
  • The London Academy of Excellence, which will be a brand new sixth form Free School. It is being set up by Brighton College - a highly successful independent school - with other independent schools. It is aimed at pupils from disadvantaged areas.

The 13 new UTCs announced today are spread across the country. Universities and employers will play a role in developing the curriculum in each UTC and will provide work placements for students. Working in partnership with universities and employers, UTCs will provide school leavers with the technical knowledge and skills that industry demands. The 13 announced today join the two UTCs already open and the three that are already in the process of being set up.

This wave of new schools will create more choice for parents, including those in the most deprived areas, and will raise standards in education - both technical and mainstream.

Sir Iain Hall, Chief Executive of the King’s School Woolston Trust and co-founder of Future Leaders, said:

I am delighted to be given the opportunity to work with a dedicated group of parents in maintaining high quality education in their community.

At our interview, the chair of the parent’s group, Colin Scotland, said that in being able to apply to open a Free School he felt ‘empowered’. We are not only empowered but highly excited at the prospect of opening King’s School Woolston.

Lord Baker, Chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust and Edge Foundation, said:

These 18 UTCs will be teaching over 10,000 students before the next election - a great beginning.


Notes to editors

  1. Free Schools are funded by the Government and operate like the successful academies programme. They have greater freedom than local authority schools, including more choice over the curriculum, how money is spent and the length of the school day.

  2. A more streamlined and rigorous approval process was used for 2012 Free School applications. This enabled the Department to compare proposals against each other and choose those most likely to deliver the aims of the programme. The application process involved groups submitting detailed proposals, with successful groups then invited to an interview at the Department.

  3. All applicant groups were required to provide details of the individuals involved in the project, and these individuals have undergone checks carried out by the Department’s Due Diligence Unit. More about the approval process can be found on the Free Schools pages of the website.

  4. Of the 63 mainstream Free Schools approved to open from 2012 onwards: * 12 characterise themselves as faith schools * 11 are being set up by existing schools or academies * 33 are being set up by local groups, including teachers, parents, charities and community groups * two are existing independent schools that will join the state sector * of the 55 Free Schools approved today, 52 are aiming to open in 2012, and three in 2013 * of the eight Free Schools already in the pipeline, seven are aiming to open in 2012 and one in 2013.

  5. More information on the groups - including names, phase and the local authority they plan to be located in - is available on the Free Schools pages of this website.

  6. The groups will now work to make their schools a reality. This includes undertaking a statutory consultation in their local area and taking steps to recruit their school’s Principal Designate.

  7. Capital funding for these projects is still to be decided.

  8. Charter schools in New York, which are similar to Free Schools, have been shown dramatically to close the gap separating inner-city neighbourhood students from those of the wealthiest suburbs - by 86 per cent in maths and 66 per cent in English. Hoxby, C.M., Murarka, S., and Kang, J. (2009) How New York City’s Charter Schools Affect Achievement, The New York City Charter Schools Evaluation Project 2009.

  9. At home, schools with greater independence are also excelling. From 2009 to 2010, results in academies increased by an average of 7.8 percentage points (proportion of pupils in academies achieving five or more GCSEs at A*-C, including English and maths) compared with the national average increase of 4.5 percentage points for all state schools.

  10. 13 UTCs have been approved to open in 2012 or 2013:

UTC Local authority Region Specialism
1. Bristol and South Gloucestershire South Gloucestershire SW Engineering and environmental technology.
2. Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire Buckinghamshire SE Construction and IT.
3. Burnley, Lancashire Lancashire NW Engineering and construction, and building technologies and the environment.
4. Houghton Regis, Central Bedfordshire Central Bedfordshire E Engineering and manufacturing.
5. Daventry, Northamptonshire Northamptonshire EM Environmental sustainability; sustainable construction; and new technologies in engineering.
6. Liverpool Liverpool NW Life sciences (including  healthcare diagnostics and medical equipment supply).
7. Newcastle Newcastle NE Science, technology, engineering and maths.
8. Nottingham City Nottingham City EM Science, technology, engineering and maths.
9. Plymouth Plymouth SW Marine engineering and advanced manufacturing.
10. Sheffield Sheffield YH Advanced engineering and creative and digital industries.
11. Silverstone, Northamptonshire Northamptonshire EM High performance engineering and motorsport, and event management and hospitality.
12. Southwark Southwark L Medical engineering and health technologies, and construction and property management.
13. Wigan Wigan NW Manufacturing engineering (food production) and green energy and environmental technologies.
  1. The Department plans to establish at least 24 UTCs by 2014. The first UTC, the JCB Academy in Staffordshire, opened in 2010. The second, the Black Country UTC in Walsall, opened in September 2011. In addition to the 13 projects announced today, three UTCs have also been approved to open in Aston, Hackney (both 2012) and Greenwich (2013). We expect to launch another application process in due course, and more details will appear on our website.

  2. The Budget in 2011 announced an extra £150 million for UTCs and technical academies. The funding that the Department has received for UTCs will provide for the individual projects announced today, as well as further UTCs and technical academies to be announced in due course.

  3. More information can be found on the UTC pages of this website.

  4. UTCs are a key part of the Government’s Plan for Growth, helping to build a strong and balanced economy by equipping young people with the skills and experience they need and that employers demand. To help do this the Government is also creating a massive expansion of work placement schemes and funding for 250,000 extra apprenticeships. More details on the Plan for Growth can be found on the HM Treasury website.

DfE enquiries

Central newsdesk - for journalists 020 7783 8300

General enquiries - for members of the public 0370 000 2288

Published 11 October 2011