Last year NSN launched the Development Programme for the first time. We received over 50 applications for the 20 available places.
The groups which made up the first Development Programme cohort are a vivid illustration of how the Free Schools programme encourages innovation. Groups within the cohort ranged from those led by local parents and teachers, to existing schools, community groups and national charities. Spread from Devon to Newcastle, their wide range of approaches mirrored the diversity of the communities they will serve.
We are delighted that with our help, all the groups on the last year’s Development Programme that applied were invited for interview by the DfE and that 15 of them were appproved to open a Free School from 2014.
More information on the groups that made up last year’s Development Programme cohort can be found below:
Mainstream Free Schools
A secondary school in Oldham who want to use a ‘faith sensitive’ school to encourage the cohesion of diverse and often segregated communities. Promoted by a local community group.
Diaspora High School
An ‘all-through’ boys school in Lewisham which will use a system of local mentors to help combat the effects of gang culture on young men in the area. Promoted by teachers drawn from the local community.
Boston Free School*
A primary school in Lincolnshire which will serve the needs of a growing (largely Eastern European) immigrant community. Will be federated with two existing primary schools in the area and is promoted by teachers serving in these schools.
Thomson House School*
A primary school in Richmond designed to meet an acute need for new local places. Promoted by a group of teachers from a local independent school.
Khalsa Science Academy*
A primary school located in an extremely deprived area of Leeds. Will have a Sikh ethos and aims to include all members of the local community. Promoted by members of the local Sikh temple with strong support from other local faith groups.
A secondary school in rural North Devon which will expand choice for children who currently have extremely limited options after the age of 11. Promoted by a group of local parents who want to use a highly personalised curriculum to promote higher aspirations within an isolated community.
Durham Free School*
A secondary school with a Christian ethos which will serve deprived former mining communities on the edges of Durham city. Promoted by a group formed of local parents and teachers.
A secondary school in Barking which aims to serve a deprived community which has no local school despite a severe lack of local places. The promoter group has been formed by local parents, community groups and an existing mainstream school coming together. It will offer distinct academic and semi-vocational and vocational pathways to meet the needs of children with different abilities.
A 16-19 school in Hackney with a specific STEM focus. Aims to benefit the wider community and involve local pupils in the ‘silicon roundabout’ of high-tech industries emerging around the Old Street area. STEM Academy will have a strong emphasis on employability skills and work-readiness. Promoted by an existing company that delivers apprenticeships, academic and vocational training courses and has strong ties with local businesses and wider STEM Industry.
A secondary school in Oldham which will use ex-service personnel and strong ties with the military to promote discipline and character building in an extremely deprived area of the city. Promoted by a group of education professionals and ex-service personnel.
Bristol Primary School*
A primary school in inner city Bristol which will serve a deprived community with a high proportion of refugees. The school will have a focus on specialist subject teaching from a young age and draw on a curriculum model which has worked successfully in inner-city US Charter Schools. Promoted by a group made up of local parents and education professionals.
A primary school which will serve an extremely deprived part of Newcastle. Aims to engage local parents in their children’s learning by using the ‘forest school’ model in early years. Promoted by a group which includes local charities and the head teachers of several local independent schools.
East London Science School
A secondary school in Tower Hamlets which will have a particular focus on science. Promoted by a local teacher with a wide range of professional support.
Special Free Schools
St Marylebone Bridge School
A secondary school which will partner with the ‘outstanding’ St Marylebone CE School and build on the existing school’s SEN specialism to serve pupils with ASD and SLCD. It has the full and enthusiastic backing of the school’s staff and Westminster LA.
The Therese Lord Independent School*
A school for pupils with Asperger’s Syndrome and high functioning autism on the borders on Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. It will have high aspirations for these learners both in terms of social and academic achievement – learners will be expected to achieve comparable academic results to their peers with no SEN.
National Autistic Society*
An all through day school based in Reading designed to serve pupils across the autistic spectrum. The group behind this proposal are drawn from the National Autistic Society and include senior leaders from existing special schools.
AP Free Schools
A small, existing independent school for 14-16 year olds seeking to become a Free School. The school is located in one of the 3% most deprived neighbourhoods in England and seeks to address the lack of supportive, calm, individually-focused and above all effective alternative educational options in this area for young people at risk of exclusion.
* indicates groups that have been approved to open a Free School from 2014