Press release

New schools bring total number of free school places to 175,000

The Education Secretary has approved 38 new free schools, which will create 22,000 school places across England and drive up standards.

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

Teacher working with pupils

Thirty-eight free schools, providing 22,000 places, have been approved by Education Secretary Michael Gove today (19 June 2014).

Free schools are brand new schools set up by parents, teachers and charities in response to demand from the local community. Today’s announcement brings the total number of open and approved free schools to 331, creating 175,000 new places overall.

Through free schools and academies, the government is taking power away from politicians and bureaucrats and handing it to heads and teachers, so that they can run new schools and provide for pupils in the way they think best. Free schools are driving up standards and ensuring more parents have a great school in their neighbourhood.

Among the projects approved today:

  • the Crystal Palace Primary School - conceived by a group of parents that were fed up with the lack of choice in their area. In addition to following the national curriculum, the school will make sure their pupils develop determination, optimism, curiosity and a hard work ethic
  • a new creative and performing arts sixth-form college - LIPA Sixth-Form College - established by Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts which was founded in 1996 by its lead patron, Sir Paul McCartney
  • the Powerlist Post 16 Leadership College - a partnership between Aspirations Academy Trust and the Powerlist Foundation - the group behind the Powerlist magazine, which profiles Britain’s most influential black people. The partnership wish to share their success with tomorrow’s leaders and will focus on combining academic success and developing leadership skills, especially for pupils from deprived backgrounds

Free schools are disproportionately located in areas with a shortage of places and areas of deprivation. The vast majority (84%) of the schools approved today are in areas most in need of more school places, while 50% will be in the 30% most deprived communities in England. All but 3 of the 38 schools intend to open their doors in September next year.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

Free schools are giving thousands of children from ordinary backgrounds the kind of education previously reserved for the rich and the lucky.

Thanks to our free school programme, many more parents now have a new school in their neighbourhood offering high standards and tough discipline. Free schools put teachers - not bureaucrats and politicians - in the driving seat, as they are the ones who know their pupils best.

As part of our long-term economic plan, we are determined to deliver the best schools and skills for our young people, and free schools are achieving exactly that.

Around 24,000 pupils are already attending free schools just 3 years after the first school opened its doors. Sixty-nine per cent of open free schools have been rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ under the new Ofsted framework, compared to 64% of all schools. Free schools are twice as likely to be ‘outstanding’, with 21% of open free schools rated ‘outstanding’ compared to 10% of all schools under the same framework.

Notes to editors

  1. There are 174 open free schools and following today’s announcement there are a further 157 in the pipeline. When full, they will provide around 175,000 extra school places.
  2. Of the 38 free school applications approved by the Secretary of State for Education:
    • 18 are primary schools
    • 8 are secondary schools
    • 7 are all-through schools
    • 5 are 16 to 19 schools
    • 34 are mainstream schools
    • 2 are for alternative provision
    • 2 are special schools
  3. Due to the popularity of free schools, the Department for Education has changed the application process to allow parents and other groups 3 opportunities per year to submit proposals, compared to just 1 previously. Not only does this provide flexibility to proposers to submit their application at the time that suits them best, it also means the government can consider applications throughout the year. This is the second wave this academic year. The third application window for this year closed on 9 May 2014 and the successful applicants will be announced in the autumn.
  4. The next application window to open a free school will open on 6 October 2014.
  5. See a note on the statistics used.

The full list of free school proposals approved today is as follows:

  • Akaal Primary School, Derby
  • ARK Croydon Primary Academy, Croydon
  • ARK Croydon Secondary Academy, Croydon
  • Belham Free School, Southwark
  • Canary Wharf College 3, Tower Hamlets
  • Chilton - Courtstairs Primary Free School, Kent
  • Crystal Palace Primary School, Croydon
  • Dalston Free Primary School, Hackney
  • Drapers’ Primary School, Havering
  • East Cheshire Youth Achievement Free School, East Cheshire
  • The Edge Academy, Birmingham
  • Elements Primary School, Barnsley
  • Elliott Hudson College, Leeds
  • Hackney New Primary School, Hackney
  • Hackney Wick Academy, Hackney
  • Harris Chafford Hundred Secondary Free School, Thurrock
  • Hoe Valley Free School, Surrey
  • Hunsley Primary, East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Kilburn Free Primary School, Brent
  • Kingston Community School, Kingston
  • LIPA Sixth-Form College, Liverpool
  • Luton Girls’ Academy, Luton
  • The Mendip School , Somerset
  • Perry Beeches - The Primary School I, Birmingham
  • Perry Beeches V - The Free School, Birmingham
  • Perry Beeches VI - The Free School, Birmingham
  • Polam Hall School, Darlington
  • Powerlist Post 16 Leadership College, Lambeth
  • Richmond Bridge Primary School, Richmond upon Thames
  • Richmond upon Thames College Free School, Richmond upon Thames
  • Sidney Stringer Primary Academy, Coventry
  • St Mary’s CE Primary School, Hertfordshire
  • STEM Academy Croydon Gateway, Croydon
  • Surbiton Primary School, Kingston
  • Temple Learning Academy, Leeds
  • Twickenham Primary School, Richmond upon Thames
  • Unity Community Primary, Manchester
  • Wolverhampton Vocational Training Centre, Wolverhampton

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Published 19 June 2014