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Free school applications at 4-year high

23/10/2014 Kelly
Applications for free schools have reached a four-year high, the Department for Education has revealed.

Over 350 applications were submitted by parents, teachers and charities this year - the highest annual figure since 2010.

The most recent wave of submissions, which closed earlier this month, was the most popular since the process moved from one to three waves per year.

A total of 148 applications were submitted in this wave alone, taking the number received since 2010 to more than 1,500.

In addition, 1,042 schools have been turned into sponsored academies during the same period, helping to raise standards further.

The government says the changes have resulted in thousands more young people in disadvantaged areas being given the chance to fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.

Establishing new schools is a key part of the coalition's education plan, creating more choice for parents and improving standards through collaboration and competition. 

According to a report published last month, 72 per cent of free school heads believe their institutions are having an impact on other schools in the area, with two-thirds of these claiming collaboration and competition are helping them to improve.

Nearly three-quarters of open free schools are located in areas with a projected need for additional school places, while almost half are situated in the 30 per cent most deprived communities in the country.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan said: "Free schools are raising standards across the board, and sponsored academies are turning around those schools that have been failing pupils for years. 

"More than two-thirds of free schools are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, and primary test results are improving faster in sponsored academies than in other schools."

There are currently 251 free schools open and a further 112 are in the pipeline. Ultimately, they will provide around 200,000 extra school places to pupils across the country.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801756065-ADNFCR
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