London Mayor frees up land for free schools

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Media captionThere will be an estimated shortfall in school places of 180,000 by 2016

The mayor of London has freed up publicly owned land and property, including disused police stations, to speed up the opening of 11 new schools.

Boris Johnson said the schools, nine of which will be free schools, will provide 7,300 places.

He said seven of the 11 schools will be will be in boroughs ranked among the 10 most deprived areas in England.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said London needs more places but free schools are not the answer.

City Hall claims 90,000 more school places are needed in London by 2016.

The new schools will be developed in former police stations, on Greater London Authority-owned land and in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

They include seven primaries, three secondaries, and one all-through school.

'Ideologically obsessed'

Mr Johnson said: "Free schools are now firmly established as part of the mix for the provision of urgently needed places and we're making good progress, matching 11 under-used public sites with groups wanting to set up new schools."

Free schools are key part in the government's education policy, with London having 58 out of a national total of 174.

But Bob Stapley from the NUT told BBC London 94.9: "London certainly needs more school places, what we don't need is lot's of free schools which are state funded, independent schools.

"The crisis we've got is because the government is ideologically obsessed with free schools.

"Local authorities can no longer open community schools, they can't plan provision of school places and it is left to market forces.

"It simply isn't an effective way of providing education."

The 11 schools are:

  • Abacus Belsize Primary School (free school) in Hampstead
  • Harris Primary Academy East Dulwich (free school) in East Dulwich
  • Alma Primary (free school) in Whetstone
  • The Olive School (free school) in Hackney
  • Canary Wharf College (free school) in Canary Wharf
  • London Design and Engineering (University Technical College) in East Ham
  • Legatum Academy (all-through free school) in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, east London
  • Mossbourne, (primary academy) in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, east London
  • East London Arts & Music (post-16 free school) in Bromley-by-Bow
  • Riverside School (secondary free school) in Barking
  • A new free primary in South Norwood

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