Press release

Games Workshop founder and entrepreneur to open 2 free schools

Education Secretary announces new wave of free schools, including 2 with Ian Livingstone.

pupild using a computer

One of the founders of Games Workshop, who helped revamp the computing curriculum, is to open 2 new free schools specialising in computer science, technology and the arts, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced today (5 February 2016) as she revealed the latest batch of this Parliament’s 500 new schools.

Drawing on his experience as a videogame entrepreneur, Ian Livingstone will open the Livingstone Academies in Tower Hamlets and Bournemouth, which will provide over 3,000 children with a rigorous education rooted in STEAM - science, technology, engineering, arts and maths. The schools, to be opened under the Aspirations Academy Trust, will use the founder’s extensive links to the creative industries to instil creative thinking and enterprise in their pupils, who will sit ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competitions and start up mock companies at the schools.

In 2010 Ian Livingstone was invited to review digital skills in England and concluded that poor-quality IT teaching in schools is an obstacle to growth. The review was influential in leading to an overhauling of IT teaching and the introduction of a new computer science curriculum. The 2 schools announced today will build on this by being exemplary institutions of computing and creative thinking.

Today, the Education Secretary is also announcing plans to form a new body of experienced property specialists to help find sites for future free schools. An advisory group is being set up to inform development of the new body, and this will include:

  • Michael Strong, former Executive Chairman of CBRE Europe, Middle East and Africa
  • Philip Bell-Brown, Group Property Director at Dixons Carphone
  • Ric Lewis, Chief Executive of Tristan Capital Partners

Finding sites quickly is often the biggest obstacle to opening new schools, so we need to ensure we have the right people working for us to secure best value for the taxpayer.

The 2 schools to be opened by Ian Livingstone join 20 others announced today - which will in total create more than 18,000 places for parents across the country.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

Free schools are offering a rigorous education in communities which have never before had the opportunity of a good local school. Parents are flocking to them in their droves - and today’s announcement means that over 18,000 more children can benefit from a place in a free school.

With leading entrepreneur Ian Livingstone stepping up to open 2 schools, the free schools programme is proving to be a vital outlet for our society’s most creative and innovative people to spread their excellence to future generations.

Ian Livingstone CBE, Founder and Chairman of the Livingstone Foundation, said:

The arts and sciences should no longer be a question of either/or - and to further this I’m delighted to be opening 2 free schools to embed digital creativity in future generations of our society.

It is the combination of computer programming skills and creativity by which today’s world-changing companies are built. I encourage other digital entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity offered by the free schools programme in helping to give children an authentic education for the jobs and opportunities of the digital world.

Also announced today is Shireland High Tech Primary in Smethwick, Birmingham - a free school that will introduce an innovative method of schooling. Instead of the traditional model of lessons followed by homework, pupils will be expected to do the reverse in order to deepen their learning through facilitated discussions and project work in lessons.

Today 22 new schools have been approved to open - providing more than 18,000 places for parents across the country. This includes:

  • 1 school in the East of England, creating 1,200 places
  • 1 school in the East Midlands, creating 500 places
  • 2 schools in Yorkshire and the Humber, creating 1,560 places
  • 1 school in the North East, creating 1,200 places
  • 3 schools in the North West, creating 2,350 places
  • 2 schools in the South East, creating 1,320 places
  • 3 schools in the South West, creating 2,870 places
  • 1 school in the West Midlands, creating 446 places
  • 8 schools in London, creating 6,756 places

Free schools

Free schools are brand-new schools which can be set up by parents, teachers, charities, businesses, cultural and sporting bodies, community groups, academy trusts and sponsors, and existing schools in response to demand from the local community, either where there is a shortage of places, or where the parents are not happy with the places on offer.

The new schools announced today, on top of over 380 already opened, will meet the growing demand of parents for more excellent local schools with high standards and strong discipline.

74% of open mainstream free schools are located in areas where there was a need for more school places and around half are in the 30% most deprived communities in the country. They are also more likely to be rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted than other state schools - and research has shown they are helping to raise standards in neighbouring schools by introducing fresh ideas and competition.

Policy Exchange research shows that as well as providing an excellent education to their own pupils, they are also associated with improvements in local poorly performing schools. And more than two-thirds of free school heads say they are having a positive impact on schools in their local area - driving up standards and ensuring more parents have a great school in their neighbourhood.

We are committed to creating at least 500 new schools by 2020, creating 270,000 school places. There will be 2 free school application rounds every year up to 2020 (with deadlines in March and September). The latest application window to set up a free school opened on 27 January and runs until midday on 2 March 2016.

We are encouraging businesses, charities, cultural and sporting bodies, community groups and parents to submit applications for new schools. We have revised the application process for those with a proven track record, to encourage more applications from ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools, and high-performing trusts and sponsors.

Free schools approved today

London

Livingstone Academy, east London, Tower Hamlets

Games Workshop co-founder and computing entrepreneur Ian Livingstone, in partnership with Aspirations Academies Trust which runs 3 ‘outstanding’ academies, is approved to open Livingstone Academy East London. The school in Aldgate, Tower Hamlets, will provide 1,570 places for 4- to 19-year-olds. The new school has a curriculum that will specialise in a combination of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) subjects, with computer science at its core. Older pupils can look forward to work placements and work-based projects through the trust’s partnerships with a range of local employers.

Green Spring New School, east and north-east London

The Green Spring Education Trust is approved to open Green Spring New School. The trust also runs the oversubscribed Bethnal Green Academy (BGA), judged to be outstanding by Ofsted. BGA’s GCSE results exceeded national and local averages, with 90% of pupils achieving 5 GCSEs at A* to C, including English and maths, in 2015. Green Spring New School will provide 1,100 places for 11- to 19-year-olds and will offer the same excellent education that is on offer at BGA. Pupils can look forward to studying an aspirational curriculum in a supportive and challenging environment with highlights including Latin, and philosophy and ethics.

Harris Aspire Sixth Form, Croydon

Harris Aspire Sixth Form, Croydon, is approved to provide 230 places for 16- to 19-year-olds. This school will be run by the highly successful Harris Federation, with 13 ‘outstanding’ academies and 1 ‘outstanding’ free school. Pupils will have the opportunity to complete vocational courses and retake GCSEs while building on their core skills in maths, English and science. The school will also be co-located with Harris Aspire Academy - providing further opportunities for pupils at both schools.

Sutton New School 2, Sutton

The Greenshaw Learning Trust is approved to open a new special school in response to parental demand for places. The Sutton New School 2 will provide 56 places for 11- to 19-year-olds with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and is closely linked with highly experienced and passionate educationalists from the trust’s ASD base at Green Wrythe Primary School. Small year-groups will facilitate a personalised provision of the curriculum and pastoral support. A smoother transition to secondary school and the development of personal independence will help to transform the lives of many children and their families in the community of Sutton.

Hujjat Primary School, Harrow

Hujjat Primary School is approved to provide 420 places for 4- to 11-year-olds in Harrow. The Hujjat School Trust is being supported by a number of local schools and is working with Lord O’Shaughnessy’s established Floreat Education Academies Trust. Drawing on Floreat’s experience of opening 2 primary schools in London, this will be an Islamic faith school offering a values-based approach to create a nurturing environment for children and bringing greater choice for local parents.

Haberdashers’ Aske’s Borough Academy, Southwark

In response to the demands of local parents for high-quality, alternative places, and the community in Southwark, the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Borough Academy is approved to provide 1,150 places for 11- to 18-year-olds. It is being set up by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation which currently runs 2 schools judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. The new school will teach a rich and varied academic curriculum with a strong focus on English, maths and science.

Wren Academy, Enfield

Proposed by the highly successful Wren Academy in Barnet, the new Wren Academy in Enfield will provide 1,600 much-needed places for 11- to 18-year-olds in Enfield. This new Christian school will offer the same excellent education as the existing school, Wren Academy, judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, where pupils’ achievement exceeds the national and local averages. This new school will add to the diversity of local provision and will be open to all young people regardless of their background. Pupils can look forward to an ambitious curriculum offering a high-quality academic and vocational education in a supportive and challenging environment.

Lime Wood Free School, Bexley

To support the need for places generated by housing development planned for the London Borough of Bexley, the Woodland Academy Trust is approved to open Lime Wood Free School. The school will provide 630 places for 5- to 11-year-olds, who will benefit from a stimulating and engaging learning environment. The trust is passionate about serving the people of Bexley, and the new free school will enhance the already strong links it has with the community through its existing primary schools and engagement with local nursery providers and midwifery provision.

East of England

Chiltern Academy, Luton

In response to the rising need for places, the Chiltern Academy in Luton will provide a high-quality education for 1,200 11- to 16-year-olds. It will support the local authority in promoting diversity, tolerance and community cohesion. It is being established by the Chiltern Learning Trust, which already runs 2 highly popular secondary schools, both judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. The Chiltern Academy will offer an ambitious curriculum underpinned by sport, business and engineering specialisms. Through partnership with local enterprises, this new school will prepare young people from a vibrant and diverse community for their future careers in a highly competitive world.

West Midlands

Shireland High Tech Primary, Birmingham

Shireland High Tech Primary in Smethwick, Birmingham, is a new school that, once open, will enable 446 3- to 11-year-olds to learn through the use of technology. The Collegiate Academy Trust behind the school already runs Shireland Collegiate Academy in Smethwick, judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. Pupils will be equipped with individual tablets to facilitate an innovative approach to teaching and learning in some subjects. Instead of the traditional model of lessons followed by homework, pupils will be expected to do the reverse in order to deepen their learning through facilitated discussions and project work in lessons. The trust is expert in delivering this approach with a lot of success in their existing and partner schools.

South West

Livingstone Academy Bournemouth, Bournemouth

Games Workshop co-founder and computing entrepreneur Ian Livingstone, in partnership with Aspirations Academies Trust which runs 3 ‘outstanding’ academies, is approved to open the Livingstone Academy Bournemouth. The new school, which will provide 1,510 places for 4- to 19-year-olds, has a curriculum that will specialise in a combination of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) subjects, with computer science at its core. Pupils can look forward to work placements and work-based projects through the trust’s partnerships with a range of local employers.

The SGS (South Gloucestershire and Stroud) Free School, south Gloucestershire

Located in Filton, the SGS Free School is approved to provide 80 much-needed places for 4- to 19-year-olds with autistic spectrum disorder in south Gloucestershire and Bristol. With the full backing of south Gloucestershire council, the new school will be sponsored by SGS College and supported by the wider Concorde Partnership of 5 local secondary schools. The school’s curriculum and learning support programmes will be individually tailored, with a focus on communication skills and social and emotional wellbeing, to prepare pupils for the world of work or further study. Links with other schools and local businesses will enable older pupils to access a wide range of courses and undertake valuable work experience placements in the community.

Callywith College, Cornwall

Located in Bodmin, Cornwall, Callywith College is approved to provide places for 1,280 16- to 19-year-olds. The college will be backed by Truro and Penwith College. Callywith College will give students more options, including a range of AS and A levels, as well as numerous vocational offers, and aims to increase the number of students in the area who can access the best universities. Students will also be able to benefit from the extensive links the group has with local employers.

South East

Hope Community School, Kent

New Generation Schools Trust is approved to open Hope Community School in Northfleet, Gravesham, to respond to the growing need for places in the area. The primary school will provide 420 places for 4- to-11-year-olds. Aiming to be the focal point for the local community, the Christian faith school will prepare pupils for life in modern Britain with a diverse curriculum including Mandarin and French.

University of Brighton Secondary School, Brighton and Hove

Once open, the University of Brighton Secondary School will prepare its 900 11- to 16-year-olds to become positive and successful adults through providing them with high-quality education in a safe, inclusive and stimulating learning community. The school will be opened by the University of Brighton Academies Trust who already run Pound Hill Infant Academy, judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. It will also be supported by the University’s School of Education. The University of Brighton Secondary School will adopt a traditional focus on academic rigour in maths, English and science. Supported by Brighton and Hove City Council, the school is expected to quickly establish itself as a successful and popular school in a city with a need for more secondary places.

North East

Gosforth Great Park Academy, Newcastle upon Tyne

Gosforth Federated Academies Ltd is set to open a new school for 1,200 9- to 16-year-olds in the Great Park area in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne. Building on their successes within their 2 existing academies, both judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, the new school will provide academic excellence centered around the core skills of English, mathematics, science, PE and PSHCE (personal, social, health and citizenship education). Students will not only be able to access a varied vocational programme, they will also be part of a highly successful languages programme supported by the University of Newcastle.

North West

Eden Girls’ School, Manchester

The Tauheedul Education Trust has been approved to open Eden Girls’ School Manchester, a Muslim faith school which will cater for 800 11- to 18-year-olds and have a leadership specialism. The trust already runs 3 outstanding free schools and 1 outstanding academy, as judged by Ofsted.

Eden Boys’ School, Manchester

The Tauheedul Education Trust has been approved to open Eden Boys’ School Manchester, a Muslim faith school which will cater for 800 11- to 18-year-olds and have a STEM specialism. The trust already runs 3 ‘outstanding’ free schools and 1 ‘outstanding’ academy, as judged by Ofsted.

Cheadle Hulme High 2, Stockport

The Laurus Trust is approved to open Cheadle Hulme High 2 in the Stockport area. Their current school, Cheadle Hulme High School, was judged to be ‘outstanding’ in every category by Ofsted and achieved results which placed them in the top 2% of the country in 2015. The new Cheadle Hulme High 2 intends to replicate this outstanding practice, raising standards in the local area, and responding to the parental demand for an academically focused school to provide the best possible education for their children.

Yorkshire and Humber

Dixons Trinity, Leeds

Dixons Academy Trust is approved to open Dixons Trinity Leeds for 1,140 primary and secondary aged pupils in the Harehills area of Leeds. Dixons Trinity Leeds will replicate Dixons Trinity Academy in Bradford, which was the first secondary free school to be judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. The school will address the growing need for new secondary school places in the Harehills area, offer access to high-quality education and inspire all pupils to ‘climb the mountain’ to university or a fulfilling career.

Roundhay Park Primary School, Leeds

Fair Access Trust is a parent-led group that intends to tackle the clear need for places in the Roundhay area, Leeds, by opening Roundhay Park Primary School. Roundhay Park Primary school will collaborate with a variety of local partners to achieve the best for the children in the surrounding area. The school has already attracted media interest and recently featured on BBC’s The One Show.

East Midlands

Beauchamp 16-19 STEM, Leicestershire

With the opening of Beauchamp 16-19 STEM free school in Oadby, Leicestershire, young people wishing to pursue STEM-related careers will have access to increased educational opportunities. The school will be set up by Lionheart Academies Trust, who run Beauchamp College in Oadby, judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. The 500 place school will focus on maths, science and computer science, while forging links with local employers and universities to offer students a wide range of STEM-focused initiatives.

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Published 5 February 2016