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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 February after initial assessment. Successful applications are anticipated to be announced in 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.

Mainstream 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.


A new study has revealed the implications of education on health – concluding that time away from education in formative years is potentially as lethal as the impact of smoking or heavy drinking.

The mainstream approach to education is not appropriate for all students – with interviews with staff at Konstam House providing further evidence. The provision aims to support students who are unable to thrive in mainstream environments by creating an environment which addresses the mental health needs of its students, creating a unique surrounding with focus on therapy, art, and music.

An investigation into students re-siting their mathematics GCSEs reveals a concerning picture of declining pass rates. Data suggests that the rate has fallen once again, continuing to drop below pre-pandemic rates.

A new initiative to address declining attendance in Liverpool and Manchester has been launched in an attempt to encourage direct pupil engagement. Activities such as breakfast and after-school clubs and additional best practice is set to be shared across schools in the most affected areas.

Pearson Edexcel are set to offer onscreen options to GCSE students by 2030, representing a real pivotal moment in the digital nature of examination. Edexcel have confirmed this will not be the ‘end of pen-and-paper exams’, but simply recognition that some students will perform more successfully when using methods they are most familiar with.

A primary school in York pilots a scheme through which all students will receive free school lunches. The programme intends to support all families, recognising the strain many have fallen victim to throughout the cost-of-living crisis.


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