The free schools set to open in 2011

A total of 24 new free schools are now preparing to open this September under the government's flagship policy of allowing parents, teachers and other groups to set up schools in England.

Free schools are semi-independent schools paid for by the state which are set up by groups including parents, faith groups and charities - including trusts set up by groups already running academies in England.

They are set up according to the same model as academies - funded directly from central government rather than via local authorities, with increased control over the curriculum, teachers' pay and opening hours.

The Department for Education said it had received 323 applications in the first round.

As of August 2011, 41 had been given approval to develop their business cases.

Of these, 24 have now signed funding agreements, or contracts, with the government, paving the way for them to open in September 2011:

Aldborough E-ACT Free School, Redbridge

A primary school set up by education provider E-ACT, through a trust (registered charity) in a former school building which is being refurbished. E-ACT sponsors several academies in England. The school was one of the first to open - with 60 pupils in reception, plus 60 pupils in Year 1.

The school's website says it will be a local school and take children according to the local authority's admissions criteria. Children there will have a shorter summer holiday but two longer half-terms.

All Saints Junior School, Reading

This non-faith school for children aged 7 - 11 will admit up to 25 children per year, opening initially in a renovated church hall. It is run by the educational trust CfBT, which already sponsors two academies and is working on two further free school proposals. The organisation also owns six independent schools in the UK, and provides education services and consultancy in countries such as Abu Dhabi, India and Singapore.

ARK Atwood Primary Academy, Westminster

Run by the academy sponsoring chain ARK, this primary school will open on a temporary site in the Queen's Park area of north Westminster in September. It will operate an extended school day - from 0830 to 1600, and focus on mathematics and the performing arts.

ARK Conway Primary Academy, Hammersmith & Fulham

The school is being set up in a former Library belonging to the local council, by the Ark education charity, which runs other academies in England. It will be one-form entry and is opening to reception children.

Batley Grammar School, Kirklees

Founded in 1612, this mixed private school is transferring to the state sector through the free schools programme. Publicly-funded for many years, it became an independent fee-paying school in 1978. As a free school, it will be non-selective and open to children of primary and secondary school age. It aims to admit about 600 pupils - up from its present roll of about 350.

Bradford Science Academy

Known locally as King's Science Academy, this will be a new secondary school, taking 140 children a year. The project is led by Bradford-born teacher Sajid Hussain. The school will open in a temporary home in an independent school before moving to new premises the following year.

The school's website says it "aims to offer a first class education in socially deprived or disadvantaged areas" and will offer "an academic curriculum with a focus on scientific and critical thinking skills".

Bristol Free School, Bristol

The Bristol Free School is a secondary school which grew out of a campaign by parents. It will open to Year 7 pupils in temporary buildings. An educational trust, set up by "school improvement providers" Education London, will help run the school.

Canary Wharf College, Tower Hamlets

This Christian school will have average class sizes of 20. It will open with classes for reception, Year 1 and Year 2. Places are also open to non-Christians. The school says its aim is to "live, share and celebrate the love of learning" and that there will be a strong emphasis on maths, technology and science, together with a high level of creative arts and physical education.

Discovery New School, West Sussex

This is a Montessori primary school with a "Christian character in the Anglican tradition", though faith plays no part in its admissions policy, those behind it say. It will be set up in a renovated grade II listed building in parkland, and will be open to children from reception to Year 3 from September.

Eden Primary, Haringey, North London

This will be a Jewish primary school. It says it will be independent of any synagogue authority and open to all members of the Jewish community. Its website says if the school is over-subscribed, 50% of its places will be available to those who practise the Jewish faith and 50% will be open and allocated on proximity to the school. It will open with a reception class.

Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School, Mill Hill, London

A Jewish primary school, with a nursery, which says it has a very strong link with the local community and Mill Hill United Synagogue. It will have space for 28 children in reception and will open in temporary accommodation. Up to half of the intake will be admitted on the basis of faith, with the remainder of places going to children who live nearest to the school.

Krishna Avanti Primary School, Leicester

This Hindu faith school will be run by sponsors the I-Foundation, which promotes state-funded Hindu education in the UK. Its website says there will be "an emphasis on academic achievement, with daily Hindu prayers, a vegetarian diet and opportunities to practice yoga, meditation and the arts". The school says it welcomes Hindus and non-Hindus alike and that when it is over-subscribed it will offer 50% of places without reference to faith. It will have space for 60 children in reception and opens in a former school building, Evington Hall, a grade II listed building.

Langley Hall Primary Academy, Slough

This primary school has been set up by husband and wife team Chris and Sally Eaton, who claim 25 years experience in running independent schools and nurseries and also run a childcare training company. It says it is underpinned by "Christian principles" and is being set up in the Grade II listed Langley Hall.

Maharishi School, Lancashire

This independent school for children aged 4 - 16 is transferring to the state sector under the free schools programme. The non-selective school attributes its exam results primarily to the teaching of transcendental meditation as part of its "consciousness-based education" philosophy.

Moorlands School, Luton

An independent prep school for fee-paying children since 1891, Moorlands School will re-open in September as a state-funded primary. The 172 existing students will be guaranteed places, while a further 115 places are available to new applicants - with priority for those with siblings at the school and 20% of the remaining places allocated to children from some of the town's most deprived areas.

Nishkam Free School, Birmingham

This primary school run by the Nishkam Education Trust describes itself as "the first state-funded, Sikh ethos, multi-faith school in the Midlands". It plans to open to 180 pupils, initially offering reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes, with an ethos based on "spiritual and moral dispositions" such as "contemplation", "creativity" and "compassion".

It will give priority for 50% of places firstly to Sikh children and then to children of other faiths. The other 50% will be allocated by "random selection". The school says it is restoring a Grade II listed building with help of community donations, the Heritage Lottery Fund and investment from the Department for Education.

Priors Free School, Warwickshire

This small school serving the villages of Priors Marston and Priors Hardwick became independent in 1996, when the council decided to end its state-funded status. Local residents created a charity, which enabled children from the two villages to attend the school for free - although others from the surrounding area attended on a fee-paying basis. Free school status will enable it to offer all of its 60 places for free.

Rainbow Free School, Bradford

Set up by the social enterprise body Asian Trade Link, and with support from cricketer Imran Khan, the Rainbow School says it aims to turn round educational under achievement in inner-city areas of Bradford. It stresses community cohesion among its aims and is recruiting from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. But concerns have been raised about one of its backers who had previously written a report apparently recommending separate education for Muslim children.

Sandbach School, Cheshire East

This boys' school dates back to 1677 and has previously been a charity and then a state-funded grammar school. Most recently, it held an unusual status where all its places were state-funded and free, but it was independent and retained the right to charge fees.

St Luke's Church of England Primary School, Camden, north London.

This Church of England primary plans eventually to accommodate 105 children aged between 4 and 11, with just 15 in each year group. Set up in an existing church hall, St Luke's will open with just a reception class, and has received 52 applications for September 2011.

Places are allocated on the basis of how close a child lives to the school.

Stour Valley Community School, Suffolk

An 11-16 secondary school being set up on the site of an existing middle school, which was due to close in July. It follows a four-year campaign for a secondary school in the village of Clare by parents whose children would otherwise have had to travel 10 miles to the nearest secondary school, as the local council rearranged local schooling. The school aims to take 450-600 pupils by 2015, and says it is building links with local businesses to give pupils opportunities for "work-related learning".

The Free School, Norwich

This will be a primary school for 4- 11-year-olds, aiming to "support working parents" by providing out-of-hours childcare from 0815 to 1745, including during school holidays. There will be a charge for the service but this will be "kept to a minimum", the school says. It aims to take 168 children, with class sizes limited to 24, and will operate in an old Georgian house which was previously used as offices.

Its principal, Tania Sidney-Roberts, told the BBC the school had received four times as many applications as it had places.

West London Free School, Hammersmith, London

The proposal for this mixed, parent-led secondary school taking 120 pupils a year was led by the writer and broadcaster Toby Young. It aims, he says, to be a "non-selective grammar school" with a "classical curriculum", in which all children study Latin up to the age of 14.

A "significant percentage" of places will be allocated on the basis of proximity to the school, the rest will be awarded by two lotteries - one for those within a three-mile radius of the school, another for those within five miles. The school will have a music specialism and 10% of its places will be awarded to children on the basis of aptitude for the subject.

There were 445 applications for September 2011.

Woodpecker Hall Primary Academy, Edmonton, London

Woodpecker Hall is the new "sister school" to the over-subscribed Cuckoo Hall Academy in Edmonton, which converted to academy status in September last year and will open next to it. Both will be run by Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust, under the leadership of executive principal Patricia Sowter. Nursery and reception classes will open in September. Woodpecker Hall will eventually have 420 pupils.

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