The 24 Pioneering Free Schools


Aldborough E-Act Free School is the first of its kind to be set up under the E-Act charitable trust. Headed by Sir Bruce Liddington, who was schools commissioner during the last Labour government, E-Act currently runs eight city academies. The school is located in a redeveloped community centre in north-east London.

All Saints Junior School was established by CfBT, a trust that operates five other schools in England and Wales. The school began with a small group of 25 students studying in a temporary location inside a church hall. The trust promises to work closely with the community.

Ark Conway Primary Academy is one of two free schools sponsored by Ark. The school, located in Hammersmith & Fulham, will be under extra scrutiny due to its famous parent, Arts Minister Ed Vaizey. The school’s ethos can be seen in its uniform policy, which has students wearing ties from the age of four and blazers a year later.

Ark Atwood Primary Academy is located in north-west London and operates out of a temporary location consisting of a few Victorian homes. The headteacher of a nearby state school expressed annoyance at the school’s opening and claims she was never informed.

Batley Grammar School, a 400-year-old mixed private school in West Yorkshire, is transitioning into a state-funded free school. While the secondary school will be free, the attached junior school and sixth form will still require fees.

Bradford Science Academy, also known as Kings Science Academy, aims to provide an academic curriculum with a focus on science. Science teacher Sajid Hussain led the project.

Bristol Free School, established by private education company Education London, is set to be the largest free school in the United Kingdom. Despite claims of parental demand, a neighbouring state school headteacher argues that the area already has a surplus of school places.

Canary Wharf College was set up by local parents and plans to create a Christian environment that welcomes children from all backgrounds and faiths. The school is located in a deprived area with a shortage of available places.

Discovery New School is a Montessori primary school with a small class size and a Christian tradition in the Anglican style.

Eden Primary School in Haringey, London is a Jewish primary school which aims to teach Jewish culture, including art, literature, history, and philosophy, in addition to religious studies.

Etz Chaim Primary School, a Jewish primary school in Barnet, London, seeks to instill community, charity, and moral values derived from Torah teachings. The school is patroned by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of the school’s trust.

The Free School in Norwich, Norfolk is a primary school located in the town centre that plans to provide affordable "wrap-around" childcare services before and after school, as well as on Saturdays. The school year is divided into six blocks of six weeks with two weeks off between each block, reducing summer holiday to four weeks.

Krishna-Avanti Primary School in Leicester is a Hindu primary school sponsored by the i-Foundation charity. The grade II listed school building used to be a grammar school until 2007. The school day begins at 8 a.m. and most learning concludes by lunchtime.

Langley Hall Primary Academy in Slough is a primary school and nursery founded by the Childcare Company, which focuses on providing online training to nursery staff. Numeracy and literacy are prioritized in the mornings, while the afternoons are dedicated to sports, languages, and performing arts.

Maharishi School in Lancashire is inspired by the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and students practice transcendental meditation. Thanks to the free schools program, the school can now operate under the state sector.

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Founded in 1891, a private prep school has made the decision to become a free school. This will now mean the school no longer requires fees and will be funded by the state. The school will however, maintain control over its curriculum. Headteacher Andrew Cook stated that the school will not be making any changes to the way it operates, including maintaining the maximum classroom size of 18 students. He also stated that the school’s traditional educational approach caters well for students from all social backgrounds.

Birmingham’s Nishkam free school, a Sikh primary school, has committed to integrating faith-based learning into all aspects of school life. The curriculum will be comprehensive and include compulsory Punjabi lessons.

Located in Priors Marston, Warwickshire, the community run Priors school suffered from a withdrawal of funding from the local authority. The school was able to continue through donations and has now been granted free school status, enabling it to expand and scrap tuition fees.

Rainbow free school in Bradford was created by the non-profit organization, Asian Trade Link. With cricket player Imran Khan and Lord Ahmed as patrons, the school is set to open soon. However, its location is not yet confirmed, prompting questions as to whether it will be ready in time for the upcoming school year.

Founded in 1677, Sandbach school in Cheshire is not new. The boys’ school, which was previously privately operated, now receives public funding and functions as a specialist arts and sports college. The school applied to become a free school after being denied academy status.

One of the first eight free schools approved by Michael Gove, St Luke’s Church of England primary school is backed by the Church of England. With four applications per each of the 15 places available, the school has highlighted a local school shortage. The school is set to be established on the premises of the institution that shares its name.

Stour Valley community school in Suffolk was established after local parents voiced their concerns over the council’s decision to shut down Clare Middle School. Following the closure, the free school has taken over the middle school’s premises.

West London free school, located in Hammersmith, is no stranger to attention. Led by journalist and writer Toby Young, the school’s approach is quite traditional in nature. The school’s students are taught Latin until age 14 and the games have been noted to be quite competitive.

Enfield’s Woodpecker Hall primary academy was created by the in-demand Cuckoo Hall academy. The school is expected to cater to a high proportion of children with additional educational needs and to those who speak English as a second language. Resources and staff will be shared between the two institutions.


  • codyyoung

    Cody Young is an educational blogger. Cody is currently a student at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in communications. Cody has a passion for writing and sharing knowledge with others.



Cody Young is an educational blogger. Cody is currently a student at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in communications. Cody has a passion for writing and sharing knowledge with others.

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