Britain’s strictest school to open second free school after government backing

The new Michaela Community School, renowned for its “no excuses” behaviour policy, is one of 22 free schools given the green light in a bid to create thousands more places. The Independent reports

The secondary school in Stevenage will follow the same model as the original school in northwest London – which has repeatedly made the headlines for its strict approach to discipline.

The education secretary has also approved a funding bid to open a new faith school, which can legally select 100 per cent of their pupils on the basis of religion, despite opposition.

An application to open Hampton Waters Roman Catholic School, a voluntary aided faith school in Peterborough, has been given the green light – and two more are in the pipeline.

It comes after campaigners have raised concerns about the negative effect on social cohesion, adding that the move could reduce the number of non-faith schools opening up in the area.

Stephen Evans, chief executive of the National Secular Society, called it a “regressive move”, adding that public money should only support schools which guarantee “equality of access” to all pupils.

“It would be a grave injustice if the opening of a new faith school with the power to turn children away on religious grounds curtails plans to open an inclusive secular academy.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “We do not agree with increasing the number of schools that can select 100 per cent of their intake based on faith.

“The schools system in England is already highly segregated on social class and income lines and we worry that increasing the number of schools with faith based admissions will lead to greater social selection. This is not the way to deliver greater equality within our education system.”

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