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  • Writer's pictureCreate: Schools

Create: Schools Monthly Free Schools News Round-Up

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

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


Key Updates on Waves

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 further news in November/December this year, 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 autumn 2023 following interviews in 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.


Free Schools in the News: This Month's Top Stories

The DfE have announced 7 new special schools to be established through the safety valve programme, with a deadline of November 3rd 2023. These schools will be situated across Cambridgeshire, Kent, Merton and Norfolk. Interested applicants may wish to contact Create: Schools to access our free support service as they put their applications together.

With successful mainstream applications announced from wave 15 of the free schools programme, the BRIT School North has been confirmed to open in coming years. The new arts school will be a continuation of the existing BRIT school in London – famous for its success with supporting sixth form students. Notable alumni include Adele, Amy Winehouse and Tom Holland.

Studies show that up to 2/3 of first year students at university will need to work part time to afford life away from home – in addition to student finance loans. Universities across the country have trialled compacted timetables, in order to aid students, the majority of whom are required to work to support their studies.

With students receiving their GCSE results on the 24th of August, various trends have been identified as the government returned to the pre-covid assessment approach. Trends confirm concerns of an expected drop of proportion of top grades, and a growing attainment gap between the North and South of England.

Following A-level results day on the 17th of August, the number of pupils accepted to UK universities has fallen 2.6% from 2022. This drop was anticipated due to the decision to return to pre-covid grading boundaries. The overview of A-level results has been described as ‘very positive’, with many students performing exceptionally in their first external exams.

The DfE has published a list of 19 schools in England affected by reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, or RAAC. These school have begun to teach remotely, in order to ensure the safety of students until the sites become usable.

Sustainable uniforms

A mother in Wiltshire organised a school uniform exchange, in a move towards sustainability. This follows an increase of parents choosing ‘pre-loved’ uniforms, as the parents of school-aged children consciously opt for environmentally friendly options.


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