Free Schools

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd June 2022.

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Photo of Rob Roberts Rob Roberts Independent, Delyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many free schools there are as of 16 June 2022; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the free schools programme; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

There are 613 open free schools which, based on the latest Ofsted judgements, will create more than 155,000 good and outstanding school places for children when at full capacity. Mainstream primary and secondary free schools are more likely to be rated good or outstanding by Ofsted than state-funded mainstream schools nationally and all open 16 to 19 free schools with an Ofsted judgement are good or outstanding.

The free schools programme remains an important part of the department’s plan to level up standards and respond where there is need for more school places.

The department launched a further round of free school applications on 10 June 2022 covering mainstream, special, and alternative provision free schools. The mainstream wave is seeking to approve free schools where there is the greatest need for new school places, prioritising proposals in Education Investment Areas. This will include a targeted number of new academic 16 to 19 free schools to help talented children from disadvantaged backgrounds get to leading universities.

Further information on free school application rounds is available here: https://www.gov.uk/education/set-up-a-free-school.

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