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Government welcomes the Premier League’s comments on free schools

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore can envisage the day when there is a Premier League school for elite athletes.

The Chief Executive of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore, said that the Premier League is looking at Michael Gove’s education reforms and could envisage the day when there is a Premier League school.

Mr Scudamore commented:

I can envisage the day when there is a Premier League school or perhaps a sports school in London where a number of sports get together and have a school for elite athletes, whether it be swimmers, runners, rugby players or footballers. We are working with our clubs and we are taking a look at Michael Gove’s education reforms.

If you have an elite athlete why not work on their education? We need coaching, schools and schooling to be very closely embedded for football.

In response to Mr Scudamore’s comments on the Government’s Free Schools policy, which will enable teachers, parents and charities to set up schools in areas where there is local need, a spokesperson for the Department said:

We want every child to have a premier league education and would be very happy to talk to the Premier League about setting up schools in communities across the country, where there is a local need.

We would be delighted if they joined the hundreds of passionate and talented groups that care about raising standards for all children and are interested in setting up new schools.

Football clubs are already linked to a number of academies across England:

Watford Football Club is linked to the Harefield Academy. The sponsors are all former directors of Watford Football Club and the academy is also home to the Watford Football Club academy for young players. This means the talented youngsters have a sound education and all the students at the school benefit from world-class football coaching.

Bristol City Football Club is linked to the City Academy, Bristol, which specialises in sport and is sponsored by John Laycock, former Chairman of Bristol City Football Club. The City Academy, Bristol, is also the home of Bristol City Football Club. Together the partnership has made enormous strides in raising the attainment of young people.

Reading Football Club is linked to the John Madejski Academy Reading. The lead sponsor is John Madejski, Chairman of Reading Football Club. Its specialism is sport and the delivery of the whole curriculum is underpinned by a sporting ethos of participation, motivation, aspiration and achievement. In partnership with Reading Football Club, the Sixth Form offers a unique opportunity for elite footballers.

Free schools will enjoy the same freedoms as these and other academies, which are publicly funded independent schools, free from local and central government control. Other freedoms include setting their own pay and conditions for staff, freedom from following the National Curriculum and the ability to change the lengths of their terms and school days. All Free Schools will have to comply with the admissions code that governs all publicly funded schools.

Ministers welcome applications for Free Schools from a diverse range of groups.

 Further information

More information about Free Schools is available in the Free Schools section of the Department’s website.

Free Schools will be all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to parental demand. The most important element of a great education is the quality of teaching, and Free Schools will allow excellent teachers - not bureaucrats or politicians - to run schools and improve standards for all children, regardless of their background.

Under the new plans it will become much easier for teachers, parents and charities to start new schools. Ministers are working right across Government to remove the red tape that can prevent new schools from setting up from planning laws, to the Department’s own school premises rules.

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