Plans for new Hastings free school approved

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Plans for a parent-led special school to provide more than 50 places for young people in Hastings have been approved by the Department of Education.

The Flagship School was part of the largest wave of free schools approvals this Parliament, with 131 new school applications being given the green light, creating more than 69,000 places.

The Hastings school will provide 56 places for children aged nine to 16, and its approval comes after the town was identified as an ‘opportunity area’ in January.

These new schools will be led by institutions including a grammar school-led Multi Academy Trust, to demonstrate how existing high-performing schools can help raise attainment more widely in the area.

The DoE says free schools are one of the highest performing groups of non-selective state schools, with 29 per cent of those inspected rated outstanding by Ofsted.

Since 2014, more than 80 per cent of mainstream free schools have been approved in areas where there was a need for more school places, while others are opened in response to parental demand to create competition and drive up standards where existing provision is not adequate.

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.”

The government has created a new body – LocatED – made up of experienced property specialists to help speed up the process of acquiring sites for new schools and get the best value for the taxpayer.

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