Over 80,000 new school places will be created in a bid to deliver the Government’s goal of opening 500 free schools by 2020.
Education Secretary Justine Greening announced the approval of 77 new free schools on Friday, of which two are located in the North East: United West Academy and Laidlaw School Trust Alternative Provision Schools (LSTAP), both based in Newcastle.
United West Academy (UWA) will be opened by the Newcastle United Foundation and Kenton Multi-Academy Trust, and will aim to use the appeal of football to get disaffected children back into the education system. The UWA will open its doors next September, initially to just 50 pupils with plans to cater for up to 90.
David Pearmain, Chief Executive of Kenton Schools MAT, told the Chronicle: “We are delighted with the news and really excited to be working with Newcastle United Foundation on this venture, whose involvement will open so many new opportunities and new motivation for young people who have previously fallen behind in their education.”
Head of Newcastle United Foundation Kate Bradley also commented: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to open United West Academy with Kenton Multi Academy Trust. Young people in this city are passionate about their football club and we in turn are passionate about supporting them.
“We firmly believe that United West Academy will be a game changer for at risk and excluded young people in Newcastle, improving attendance, attainment and behaviour, but overall, giving them hope for the future.”
The paper states that the UWA will offer smaller class sizes, vocational learning, enhanced pastoral support, work experience and high quality careers advice to reduce the number of children who end up not in education, work or training.
The Department for Education called these recent approvals the “biggest wave of free schools” which will give parents “even more choice of a Good school for their child”.
Ms Greening said: “Our country needs more good school places for children. This next wave of free schools means more options for parents so they can choose a place that really works for their child’s talents and needs.
“Alongside the reforms announced last week this will build on the progress that has seen 1.4 million more children in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools than in 2010. This will help deliver the true meritocracy the Prime Minister has pledged to create.”