22 new free schools to open in underperforming areas

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has said that 22 new free schools have been approved to open, aiming to help raise standards and give parents more choice.

The new schools will create an extra 19,000 places, with 18 of the new schools set to open in local authorities identified by the Department for Education as having the lowest educational performance and insufficient capacity to improve. This is part of the government’s pledge to deliver on its pledge to create one million new school places by 2020, the fastest growth for two generations.

There are more than 440 free schools nationwide, with 285 more set to open in the coming years. The latest announcement follows the announcement in March of 37 new special free schools, and two alternative provision free schools, creating 3,500 extra school places for pupils facing challenges in their education.

Hinds said: “Free Schools have revolutionised education in this country – through their innovation and a different way of thinking about teaching and learning they are a fantastic addition to our education system.

“Many parts of the country have already taken advantage of the Free School Programme and have reaped the benefits. A great education is the key to unlocking every child’s potential so today we are announcing 22 new free schools so more young people – often in the most disadvantaged areas of the country – can benefit from a great free school opening in their area. I look forward to seeing the schools as they are built, and how the young people studying there flourish and go on to succeed.”