More free schools open in England as numbers top 500

Fifty-three new free schools will open their doors today across England – including one backed by Saracens Rugby Club and another by the broadcaster Sky. iNews reports

The new free schools, as well as the opening of one University Technical College, will create up to 40,000 new school places.

Saracens High School, in Barnet, North London, is supported by Saracens Rugby Club and is one of 12 new free schools to open in the capital. It is the first school to be opened by The Saracens Multi-Academy Trust which includes Saracens Sport Foundation and Middlesex University. The mainstream secondary school’s aim, it says, will be to boost pupils’ education through sport.

The new openers range from primary schools to sixth form colleges with some tailored to provide technical education.

Beyond the capital, Red Kite Special Academy in Northamptonshire will open for 100 pupils with severe learning difficulties and those on the autistic spectrum.

Free schools, seen as the “pet project” of Michael Gove when he was Education Secretary, have been dogged by criticism.

Some see them as being created in mainly middle-class areas and attracting stronger pupils which in turn weakens already weak schools, thus creating a two-tier system.

Teachers’ unions have also expressed alarm that free schools do not have to employ qualified teachers.

Read more More free schools open in England as numbers top 500 

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