Figures reveal the extent of reforms designed to improve quality of schools.
New figures show the government has approved an unprecedented number of new schools since 2010. More than 400 new free schools and technical schools have been approved across England, amounting to more than 200,000 new school places.
These new schools are a vital part of the government’s plan for education as they increase choice for parents and help to drive up standards across the board.
Since 2010 the government has opened:
- more than 250 free schools - new schools set up and run by teachers, parents and charities, rather than local councils or Westminster politicians. 79 of these open for the first time this term, while a further 76 are in the pipeline
- 30 University Technical Colleges - new colleges developed in partnership with universities and employers that train young people for careers in key industries such as engineering and science. More than 500 employers are now involved in UTCs, including Hitachi Rail Europe, Jaguar Land Rover and Bentley. 13 of these UTCs open for the first time this term, and a further 26 are in development
- 37 studio schools - new schools that prepare young people for the workplace by offering a rigorous academic education alongside employer-backed technical and vocational qualifications. More than 400 employers are involved in studio schools, including the BBC, Barclays, Sony and Talk Talk. 12 of these studio schools open for the time this month, and a further 9 are in development
These diverse schools have introduced new ideas and approaches to the system that are increasingly helping all schools to raise standards, with more children now having the opportunity to go to a good or outstanding school than ever before.
The number of openings in just over 4 years is underlined by the fact that it took 4 years to open the first 27 academies, and 7 years to open the first 70 academies. Only 15 City Technology Colleges were opened in 5 years.
Also since 2010 more than 900 weak schools have been turned into sponsored academies - this means they are now getting the help they need from strong sponsors with a proven track record of improving education for pupils in long-term under-performing schools.
A further 2,800 schools have been granted academy freedoms. These include powers to set the length of the school day and term and freedoms over how they spend their money and design their curriculum.
It means that in total there are now more than 4,000 academies in England - almost 20 times as many as there were in May 2010, when all 203 academies were sponsored secondary schools. 87% of academies support other schools in some way, leading to a system of school-to-school support where institutions share expertise and challenge one another in order to improve standards across the sector.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:
Delivering the best schools and skills for our young people is part of our long-term economic plan and opening more free schools, academies, UTCs and studio schools is vital to this as they help to drive up standards for all.
They help those parents that want to exercise choice, but I know that many parents just want their child to be able to go to a good local school. In helping to raise standards for all, these new free schools, academies and others are helping to make this possible.
Analysis shows free schools are helping young people from all backgrounds fulfil their potential. The vast majority of mainstream free schools (72%) are in areas most in need of more school places, while half of all free schools are in the 30% most deprived communities in England.
Among the new schools opening their doors for the first time this term are:
- Holyport College, a secondary free school in Windsor. The school is backed by Eton College and holds a strong academic ethos and places great emphasis on a rounded education. A longer school day will allow for extensive extra-curricular activities including opportunities to make use of Eton’s sports and drama facilities. Oversubscribed in its first year, Holyport College is the first free school to offer boarding - with just under half of its 500 places set aside for boarders
- King’s College London Maths School, a highly innovative university-backed maths free school for 16- to 19-year-olds opening this September. The school, which was heavily over-subscribed for its first year, will take 120 students from across London when full. It will provide a stretching curriculum focused on maths and physics, including mentoring and teaching from university academics
- LIPA Primary School, a free school in Liverpool. Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) was co-founded in 1995 by lead patron Sir Paul McCartney and Principal Mark Featherstone-Witty OBE, it is now opening a primary school in the heart of Liverpool. The school will immerse children in the creative and performing arts to enrich teaching and learning. The school has proven popular with local parents and is already oversubscribed for its first year of operation;
- Bolton Wanderers Free School, a free school for 16- to 19-year-olds. Bolton Wanderers Football Club’s school will provide up to 400 places for young people and will specialise in sport, business, health and social care courses. Students on the sports programme will have the unique opportunity to train with professional coaches from the football club, as well as highly-trained coaches in other sports. The school is supported by local prominent businesses and has excellent links with Bolton University
- The Ruth Gorse Academy, a secondary free school in Leeds. It will offer 1,580 places for secondary school pupils in Leeds. It aims to ensure that young people living in the inner-south part of Leeds can access an inspirational education. Ruth Gorse will mirror the aspirations and standards set by the Farnley and Morley Academies rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted
- Tottenham UTC in North London, which will provide more than 900 places when full. Led by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, in partnership with Middlesex University, the UTC will specialise in technology and science for sport, health and engineering and will be located within Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium regeneration scheme
- UTC Cambridge, which will provide more than 650 places when full. It will specialise in biomedical and environmental sciences and is sponsored by Cambridge University Health Partners, Cambridge Regional College and a range of employers including Napp Pharmaceuticals and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
- Space Studio Banbury, a studio school in Oxfordshire, which when full will provide 300 14- to 18-year-olds with a rigorous education in science, maths and technology, with a focus on space-related industries. The school will be sponsored by the Aspirations Academies Trust with support from the National Space Agency, Comdev and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
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