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  • Writer's pictureCreate: Schools

Create: Schools Monthly Free School News Round-Up

Our Free Schools Round Up will provide you with education headlines from the past month, featuring key updates on each of the free school waves including education and academy news highlights.


Key Updates on Waves

Safety Valve

The DfE previously announced that new special free schools would be opening in Cambridgeshire, Kent, Merton and Norfolk through the Safety Valve application route. With the final deadline in November now passed, interviews are expected to take place in January after an initial assessment. Successful applications are anticipated to be announced March.

Special Wave

The deadline for applicants has now passed for Stage 2 of the SEND free school wave. The published list of the 33 new special schools and their specifications previously announced can be found here. Applicants should expect to hear invites to interview in coming weeks, with successful applicants to be announced in January 2024.

AP Wave

The final deadline for AP partnerships to submit their applications passed on the 17th of February. Applications are now in the assessment stage, with successful submissions to be announced imminently following the interview stage throughout the summer.

Wave 15

Successful wave 15 applications have now been confirmed, with a published list of all submitted applications available here. Applicants faced an initial round of assessment, followed by the interview stage, before successful applicants were informed of their application status. The published list of successful applications can be found here.


The DfE have now announced intent to approve exam board syllabuses for the new British Sign Language GCSE. Proposed content will require students to learn at least 750 signs, discuss contemporary issues as well as demonstrate an understanding of the history of the subject.

Ofsted inspectors received emergency training in December to prevent strain on headteachers and school staff following growing concern into school leader anxiety induced by the Ofsted process. The training covered spotting the signs of stress and anxiety.

December saw the Times Higher Education awards, a celebration of higher education across various categories such as international collaboration, innovative teaching and support for students.

The DfE released guidance for schools relating to gender questioning from children. The guidance covers topics such as advising socially transitioning, single-sex spaces such as toilets and changing rooms and preferred pronouns.

A study into the 2023 autumn term revealed school suspensions hit over a quarter of a million – affecting 135,000 pupils.

Following the Christmas period, an Oxford mathematics professor revealed the secrets to winning board games such as Monopoly and Cluedo. Deeper understanding of numbers has been found to put players at an advantage.


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