The Government announced its biggest wave of new free schools yet, with two out of a total of 130 nationally set to open in the North East.
The Department for Education said the new schools will give “more parents the choice of a good school place for their child”.
The two approved for the region will be:
- Discovery Special Academy in Middlesbrough (special school)
- Durham Gateway Academy in Durham (alternative provision)
The schools will create 204 additional places, whilst nationally 67,718 new places are being created in this wave of free schools. According to the DfE release, every other region will get at least 4,000 new places in this wave.
Sunderland is one of the 20 Local Authority areas that have been approved to create a new special school through the free school process.
In terms of need for places in the North East, the recently released DfE scorecards show that there is a much greater need for secondary places in the region than for primary places.
- 3,860 new places are planned for delivery by 2018/19, meaning that the estimated number of additional places needed to meet demand is 750.
- Darlington and Redcar and Cleveland are not projected to need any additional places. The biggest demand for new primary places is projected to be Northumberland (260 more or an increase of 0.95%).
- Overall, the North East needs 750 more primary places, equivalent to 0.32% of the current capacity – this is by far the lowest of all regions and compares to 1.32% nationally.
- 787 new places are planned for delivery by 2018/19, meaning that the estimated number of additional places needed to meet demand is 1,960.
- Darlington, Middlesbrough, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland are not projected to need any additional places. The biggest demand for new secondary places is projected to be Stockton-on-Tees (840 more or an increase of 6.78%) – this is the second highest secondary places need in the country after Leicester.
- Overall, the North East needs 1,960 more secondary places, equivalent to 1.11% of the current capacity – this is the third highest of all regions and compare to 0.87%. However, this is largely driven by the issue in Stockton.
Education Secretary Justine Greening said:
We need schools that can bring out the best in every single child no matter where they’re growing up, how much their parents earn, or however different their talents are.
That’s why these new schools are so important – they give us the school places we need for the future, and they also give parents more choices to find a great school place in their area that’s right for their child.