New free schools for Corby and Northampton announced today

David Cameron
David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron vowed today he will “not waver” in his commitment to open 500 new free schools over the next five years with free schools approved for Corby and Northampton as part of the first phase.

The Government’s commitment to open 500 free schools over the next five years will create 270,000 school places across the country.

I am delighted with the announcement of a new free school in Corby

Tom Pursglove MP

Today, the first 18 projects of this parliament have been given the green light, creating more than 9,000 places across the country.

They will join the 252 already open and the 52 new free schools opening up their doors as schools head back this week.

These will bring the total number of free school places created since 2010 to more than 236,000.

The first wave includes Corby Free Special School, which will address the need for more special school places in Corby, and Catch22 Northamptonshire Academy, which will be an alternative provision school for four to 16-year-olds in Northampton.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “As a One Nation Government we are clear that every family should have access to a great local school and every child should get the very best education - and free schools are a crucial part of that aim.

“The aim of this policy is crystal clear - to increase the number of good and outstanding school places so that more parents have the security of knowing their child is getting a great education.

“Today’s announcement shows that we will not waver in pressing ahead with our plans to open 500 more of these innovative and exciting schools over the next five years, creating 270,000 places, delivering an excellent education and giving parents across the country real choice for their children.”

The Government has committed to opening 500 more free schools in this Parliament, creating good school places in communities across the country.

To achieve this, two waves of schools will be announced every year up to 2020, with application deadlines in March and September.

The latest application window to set up a free school opens on 28 September and runs until 7 October, with pre-application registration opening today.

The 18 new schools announced today include a number that will be set up by teachers themselves, showing the programme is putting power back in the hands of those who know children best.

Free schools are brand new schools set up by parents, teachers, charities, academy sponsors and existing schools in response to demand from the local community, either where there is a shortage of places, or where the parents are not happy with the places on offer.

74 per cent of open free schools are located in areas where there was a need for more school places and around half are in the 30 per cent most deprived communities in the country.

They are also more likely to be rated outstanding by Ofsted than other schools – and research has shown they are helping to raise standards in neighbouring schools by introducing fresh ideas and competition.

17 per cent of all free schools are dedicated to special needs or alternative provision, giving more help to those most in need.

Corby Free Special School will be run by the Maplefields Teaching School Alliance, a special needs provider with all of its five member schools judged to be outstanding by Ofsted.

The Corby Free Special School will address the need for more special school places in Corby, where parents and their children often have to travel significant distances to access a suitable education.

This bespoke school for up to 100 local pupils, provided by highly experienced and incredibly passionate educationalists, will help to transform the lives of many children and their families in North Northamptonshire.

MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove said: “In light of considerable house building in the Corby area, I have been a huge advocate of the need for infrastructure to accompany growth and I am delighted with the announcement of a new free school in Corby.

“To my mind, today’s announcement signals the Government’s commitment to investment in Corby and I will continue to campaign to secure a new Enterprise Zone, working alongside Corby Borough Council, East Northamptonshire Council and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership.

“Going forward, I will also maintain the pressure for fairer funding for Northamptonshire schools and I am pleased the Government are taking action on this.”

The Catch22 Northamptonshire Academy in Northampton will be a new alternative provision school for four to 16-year-olds in Northampton.

Opening in 2016, the new school will provide 100 much needed places for children who are struggling in a mainstream setting.

The school will be led by Catch22 Multi-Academy Trust, an established provider of alternative provision that already runs four schools in Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Buckinghamshire and Bristol.

All these schools have been judged to be good by Ofsted within the last two years.

The new school will offer personalised pathways to its pupils to help reintegrate them back in to mainstream provision.

The school is supported by Northamptonshire County Council, which sees it as a valuable contribution to alternative provision in the area.