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Free School and Academy Programmes

Volume 643: debated on Monday 25 June 2018

Based on last year’s GCSE results, converter academies and free schools had higher Attainment 8 and Progress 8 scores than the average for state-funded schools overall. In fact, eight of the top 10 schools for progress made by pupils were either academies or free schools. That is evidence that free schools and academies are delivering high standards for their pupils, and that particularly includes disadvantaged pupils.

The Department for Education has identified target local authority areas for raising standards. Further to my right hon. Friend’s answer, does he agree that free schools that are accessible to anyone, wherever they might live in that area or beyond, will increase parental choice and improve standards?

My hon. Friend is right. Since 2010, the creation of the free schools programme has been a huge success. Those schools, which often serve disproportionately disadvantaged communities, have unleashed innovation and driven up academic standards. To give just one example, 92% of disadvantaged pupils at Reach Academy Feltham achieved grade 4 or above in English and maths last year.