Three new free schools in Hackney were approved by Education Secretary Michael Gove on Thursday, creating over 260 extra school spaces in the borough.
The schools which will open in September next year are Hackney New Primary School, Dalston Free Primary School and secondary school Hackney Wick Academy.
Free schools are state-funded but are run by groups or individuals and are free from local authority control. They do not have to follow the national curriculum but are expected to teach lessons that are broad and balanced and are still subject to Ofsted inspections. Unlike state schools they have the freedom to change the times of the school day, term times and teachers pay.
Hackney New Primary School is an expansion of Hackney New School, an existing secondary free school. The new school will have a particular focus on music and students will be given priority for applying for a place in the sister secondary. The school hopes to be located on the site of former Kingsland Road fire station.
In a statement on their Facebook page, Hackney Wick Academy group said: “We are very pleased by the vote of confidence from the Department for Education in support of our vision for a secondary school. We are looking forward to the next stage of the process.”
Dalston Free Primary School says it will open with two reception classes and then grow to a capacity of 420. A location for the school has yet to be confirmed, although they are working with the local authority and hope to announce their site soon.
The new Cabinet Member for Children’s Services of Hackney Council, Councillor Anntoinette Bramble said: ”We’ve always been very open to innovation within education, and the phenomenal improvements seen in our schools over the last decade are testament to that. We work closely with all of the schools in Hackney and we look forward to supporting any free schools which open in our borough. They join a family of schools with high aspirations for all of Hackney’s young people.”
Thirty five other new free schools were also approved, bringing the total open and planned free schools in England to 331.