A music school is set to open in Tower Hamlets for 16 to 19 year olds as part of 102 new free schools approved by Michael Gove the Education Secretary.
The school expected to open in 2014 will join The Brit School as one of the only state-funded performing arts college’s in the country which has schooled the likes of Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Leona Lewis.
Around 50,000 school places are to be created when the free schools open and 109 will join the 81 current free schools, including Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of the Performing Arts (LIPA), which has also had its proposal for a creative arts primary free school in Liverpool granted.
Out of the 102 that have been approved to open from September 2014, 46 are located in London. Many of the schools are to be based in deprived areas or where there is a shortage of school places.
Natalie Evans, director of the New Schools Network said: “The free schools movement has accelerated at an unprecedented pace, spurred on by increasing support from teachers particularly in disadvantaged areas where the need for good schools is even more pressing.”
However the Labour party and some teaching unions say they draw money and pupils away from other schools and tend to be located in more affluent neighbourhoods because the schools are established as academies, independent of local authorities.
They also have increased control over their own curriculum, teachers’ pay and conditions, and the length of school terms and days.
Fears the free schools give too much freedom to faith-based groups or fundamentalist agendas have also emerged – although schools must show their curriculum is “broad and balanced”.