Press release

Successful free school proposals announced

Six new university technical colleges and 5 new studio schools also approved.

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

Children writing

Eight mainstream schools, a sixth form and an alternative provision school join the 174 schools already open, and the 115 already in the free schools programme pipeline.

Once full, all open and approved free schools will provide 150,000 extra school places, with this latest wave providing a boost of about 5,000 places. All of the mainstream schools announced today are in areas facing a shortage of school places. Forty-five per cent will be in the 30% most deprived communities in Britain.

The schools have been set up by a range of passionate and talented groups, with 1 common aim - to improve state education provision and choice for parents. Four of the proposals are from parent and community groups, including the Ealing Fields Free School in West London. Seven proposals are from teachers and existing schools, including 2 from the successful Harris Federation. The Eddie Davies Educational Trust in Bolton has been supported by Phil Gartside, chairman of Bolton Wanderers Football Club.

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.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

I am delighted with the quality of the proposals we have received. Free schools are driving up education standards across England. They are hugely popular with parents, providing more choice and freedom and, crucially, they are benefiting children from all backgrounds.

With almost three-quarters of those inspected so far rated good or outstanding, they are a significant boost to communities poorly served for generations.

Like academies, free schools have greater freedom than local-authority-run schools, giving headteachers more power to make decisions that are right for local children. It has allowed schools like the Brighton Bilingual School, with its dual Anglo-Spanish curriculum, and the Free School Norwich, which opens from 8am to 6pm, 51 weeks a year, to open.

The government also today announced the approval of 6 university technical college (UTC) and 5 studio school proposals backed by major employers and industrial partners including Network Rail, the National Space Centre and the James Dyson Foundation. There are now 50 UTCs and 46 studio schools open or in development. Once all are open, these UTCs and studio schools will provide more than 45,000 extra places for young people.

The free school proposals approved today are:

Ealing Fields Free School

Promoted by members of the local community, this 840-place London secondary school will aim to achieve outstanding academic, social and emotional outcomes for its pupils. The curriculum will be focused on enabling pupils to achieve the English Baccalaureate with a strong emphasis on extra-curricular activities and helping pupils to obtain the skills needed to succeed in a global jobs market.

Harris Federation Free Schools

The successful academy chain Harris has had 2 London primary schools approved today. One 630-place school in will be located in Tottenham Hale and the other over 420-place school in Southwark. The schools will both have a literacy specialism. As part of the Harris network, they will benefit from sharing curriculum teaching and learning practices, pastoral practices and administrative services.

The Eddie Davies Educational Trust School (Bolton)

This sixth form for 400 pupils will specialise in sports and business. The school will be located on the Bolton Arena Sports complex and Reebok stadium and is strongly supported by Phil Gartside, chairman of Bolton Wanderers Football Club. The school will have a large focus on English and maths for students who do not achieve a grade C at key stage 4. Among other qualifications, an International Baccalaureate Career Certificate (IBCC) in Professional Sports will also be available to students.

East Birmingham Network (EBN) Free School

East Birmingham Network is a partnership of 12 secondary schools setting up high-quality free schools for children with behavioural difficulties in the local area, with a focus on excellent behaviour and attendance. It will serve 90 pupils in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. This builds on EBN’s first free school which opened in Sept 2012.

Didsbury CE Free School

This Christian faith primary school proposal for over 210 pupils in Manchester is sponsored by the outstanding local school Didsbury CE Primary. The proposer group will be able to extend their proven track record of maintaining high standards in literacy and numeracy.

The Langley Primary Academy

This primary school for 630 pupils in Slough will help meet the pressing local need for new school places. The curriculum - which has a focus on promoting curiosity, exploration, and discovery - will help prepare pupils for entry into the successful Langley Academy, an existing secondary academy which is sponsoring the proposal.

Lodge Park Primary School

Proposed by the David Ross Education Trust (DRET), this 420-place primary school will be located in Corby, Northamptonshire. The primary school will share the site of DRET’s existing secondary school, Lodge Park Academy, and provide pupils with the opportunity of a seamless transition to secondary school.

King Solomon International Business School

This will be a 672-place 4 to 19 non-denominational Christian faith school in central Birmingham. The school will serve 4 deprived areas and offer a business and enterprise specialism to pupils. This school will benefit from the experience of education partner St Peter’s Collegiate, a school rated outstanding by Ofsted and part of the long established Woodard family of schools.

Maiden Erlegh

This will be a secondary school for at least 600 pupils in East Reading sponsored by the outstanding secondary academy Maiden Erlegh School. This new school will respond to the high demand for places in the area, aim to drive up local standards and help to meet the predicted shortfall of secondary provision.

The UTCs and studio schools proposals approved today are:

Bolton UTC

Bolton UTC is sponsored by the University of Bolton and supported by employers the Cohens Group and Ravat and Ray Dental Care, with additional partners including Bolton College, Equity Solutions, NHS, Bolton Council, GM Chamber of Commerce and the North West Engineering Employers Federation (EEF). Bolton UTC will specialise in health and engineering technologies. It will cater for 600 pupils.

Greater Peterborough UTC

Based in Peterborough, and led by Peterborough Regional College, this 500-place UTC will specialise in environmentally sustainable engineering and environmentally sustainable technologies in the built environment. The UTC us sponsored by Anglia Ruskin University with employer sponsors including Anglian Water, The Larkfleet Group, and Marshall Aerospace

Global Academy UTC

Based in London, Global Academy UTC will cater for up to 800 students and specialise in creative, technical and digital media and entrepreneurship. It will focus on the technical skills necessary for work the broadcast media industry. It is led by This is Global Ltd, the UK’s largest commercial radio group, in partnership with the University of the Arts, London, and the Meller Educational Trust and supported by leading employers, including Universal Music, Arqiva, Clifford Chance, BPI and RCS, Global.

Humber UTC

Based in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, the Humber UTC is led by the University of Hull in partnership with North Lincolnshire Council, North Lindsey College and Outwood Grange Academies Trust, with support from employers including Able UK, Tata Steel Europe, Total Lindsey Oil Refinery and Centrica. The Humber UTC will specialise in engineering and renewables. It will cater for 600 pupils at capacity.

Sir Simon Milton UTC

Sir Simon Milton UTC in Westminster will cater for 550 students and specialise in transport engineering and construction. Led by the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, in partnership with the University of Westminster and leading employers such as Network Rail, BT Fleet, Land Securities, TfL and Mace, and Westminster Council is a key partner supporting practical links with other 14 to 18 education providers.

Warrington UTC

Warrington UTC is based in Cheshire and led by the University of Chester, in partnership with Warrington Borough Council and with support from a number of employers including Sellafield Ltd, Tenet Consultants, United Utilities, Boulting and AMEC. The UTC will specialise in nuclear engineering and energy engineering. It will cater for 620 pupils at capacity.

Aldridge Centre for Entrepreneurship Studio School (ACE)

Based in Tower Hamlets, the school will be led by The Aldridge Foundation, specialising in entrepreneurship with a focus on retail and creative and digital enterprises. It will be co-located with the leading business partner Asda at their store on the Isle of Dogs, an area with a mix of SMEs, social enterprises and bigger businesses. Enabling Enterprise and Future Foundations will provide links to other employers in the area. The school will cater for 300 students when at full capacity.

Atrium Studio School

The Atrium Studio School based in South Devon will specialise in the built environment, which will include construction, architecture and civil engineering. It is led by the South Dartmoor Academy Trust with support from employers, including Novus, URS Infrastructure and Environment UK Ltd, Glendinning and First Class Builders, professional bodies and expert advice from the School of Architecture Design & Environment, Plymouth University. The school will admit from age 13 and cater for 375 students when at capacity.

Bicester Technology Studio

Based in Bicester and led by Activate Learning (formerly Oxford & Cherwell Valley Group), in partnership with Bicester Vision, RED, Zeta Specialist Lighting and Chiltern Railways, the studio school will specialise in technologies - sustainable construction, engineering and computing. It will cater for 310 students when at capacity.

Space Studio West London

Space Studio West London in Hounslow will specialise in science, maths, aerospace and catering. The school’s location is close to Heathrow and the school will be supported by a range of employers and sponsors in the aerospace sector and space-related. It is led by the Aspirations Academies Trust (AAT) and will cater for 300 students when at full capacity.

The STEM Studio School

The STEM Studio School in Bath, is led by Wellsway Multi Academy Trust and will specialise in STEM subjects. It is supported by The James Dyson Foundation, BMT Defence Systems, Aedas Architects, Nokia and Semta. The school will cater for 300 students when at capacity.

Notes to editors

  1. There are currently 174 open free schools, 17 open university technical colleges and 28 open studio schools.
  2. The free schools groups approved today will now finalise their plans in readiness to open from September 2015, apart from the Eddie Davies Educational Trust School, which aims to open in September 2014. Chief among their tasks will be to secure a site. The department has co-developed a website with the Cabinet Office that lists all surplus government property available to buy or rent, including those suitable for free schools. Preparations also include undertaking a statutory consultation in their local area and taking steps to recruit their school’s principal designate.
  3. UTCs are academies for 14- to 19-year-olds which focus on delivering technical education that engages young people and meets the needs of modern business. They offer full-time courses which combine practical and academic studies. Students benefit from a curriculum designed by experts in the field and are then supported to learn through work placements and access to industry standard facilities and equipment. They typically cater for around 500 to 800 students.
  4. Studio schools are innovative all-ability academies for 14- to 19-year-olds which offer a practical learning experience. They combine academic study (with a core of maths, English and science plus other subjects) with cross-curricular learning tackling real-life problems and projects. Local employers are involved in the design and delivery of studio schools’ curricula, and all students undertake work experience.
  5. UTCs and studio schools have the same freedoms as free schools and academies. This allows them to be innovative in, for instance, how they may choose to employ engineers with an industry background alongside qualified teachers; how they develop and deliver innovative projects for pupils; and how they extend the school year and day to prepare students for the world of work. The studio schools approved today will all open in 2015, and the UTCs in 2015 or 2016.
  6. For more information call the press office: Simon Barrett on 020 7227 5111, Rhiannon Spellman on 020 7340 8239, or the newsdesk on 020 7783 8300.

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Published 23 January 2014