As I know from my postbag, London is crying out for more school places. Like clockwork, I receive tens of messages from parents at the conclusion of each year’s admission procedures, desperately concerned that their child will not have a school place come September.
Today the government has gone some way to relieving that local pressure by announcing that three new schools have been approved in central London: the Harris Westminster Free School, Marylebone Boys’ School and the Family School.
The schools are three of the 102 new ‘free schools’ approved by Ministers to open across England from September 2014 and beyond. Free schools are new state schools opened by groups of parents, teachers or charities. They give parents more choice of school and ensure more children can get a great state education. Up and down the country, free schools are already delivering what parents want – strong discipline, high standards and excellent teaching.
I am delighted that the Harris, Marylebone Boys’ and the Family Schools have been approved to open in central London. A lot of people have worked incredibly hard to get these new schools approved and they have done a fantastic job.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said:
‘There are many innovators in local communities set on raising standards of education for their children. I am delighted to approve so many of their high-quality plans to open a free school. Free schools are extremely popular with parents and are delivering strong discipline and teaching excellence across the country.’
Today’s announcement comes on top of 81 free schools which are already open and a further 109 free schools due to open this September and beyond. In total, these schools will provide 130,000 extra school places once full.
90 per cent of the 102 new free schools are either in areas of deprivation or in areas with a shortage of school places.
Below is the letter I received from Lord Nash, Education Minister and Chairman of our very own Pimlico Academy.
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