In questions to the Department for Education, I asked the Minister whether he would consider supporting a new free school for Deal. I am pleased the Minister confirmed he would certainly support a new application for a free school in Deal if there was a need for more good school places.
Charlie: What recent assessment she has made of the performance of free schools; and if she will make a statement.
Nick Gibb (Minister for Schools): Based on Ofsted inspections of free schools undertaken so far, the majority of free schools are performing well. They are also more likely to be rated outstanding than other state-funded schools.
Charlie: The Minister will be aware that free schools are very popular with parents and achieve results that outperform many maintained schools. In view of that, would he consider supporting a new free school in Deal in my constituency?
Nick Gibb (Minister for Schools): My hon. Friend is right. There are currently 174 free schools up and running, of which 40% have already had a section 5 Ofsted inspection, in addition to their pre-opening inspection. Of those, 24% are graded outstanding, which is a staggering achievement for a school that has been open for just four or five terms. This represents a higher proportion than other schools. Some 71% of free schools are graded good or outstanding.
We would certainly welcome an application for a new free school in Deal if there is evidence of a need for more good school places.
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term.
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