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52 free schools to open for new academic year

13/09/2017 Joanna

The Department for Education has confirmed that 52 new free schools will be welcoming their first students as the 2017-18 academic year begins.

Thousands of children will be attending the 52 new schools, which include primary, secondary and all-through schools, as well as sixth-form colleges and facilities tailored specifically for technical education or teaching for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

More than four in five of local authorities now have at least one free school in their area, with the latest wave of additions bringing the total number of free schools opened since 2011 to more than 500. This has created around 33,000 additional school places across the country.

Among the newest schools are the City of London Primary Academy in Islington, a 420-place primary school that also offers a 38-place nursery, and the Bobby Moore Academy, an all-through school on the site of the former Olympic Park that will provide 1,500 places at full capacity.

Other notable additions include XP East, a secondary school and sixth form college in Doncaster that plans to offer a project-based curriculum based on those used in certain US locations, and Scott Medical and Healthcare College in Plymouth, a 375-place studio school specialising in healthcare occupations.

Lord Nash, parliamentary undersecretary of state for the schools system, said: "These 52 new schools will provide much-needed places and encourage innovation, driving up standards and ensuring even more parents have the choice of a good school place for their child."

Coinciding with the launch of the new schools, the government has highlighted Ofsted inspection figures showing that 29 per cent of free schools currently in operation have been rated outstanding, with many facilities delivering strong results in the most recent round of GCSEs and A levels.

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