The first ever special and alternative provision Free Schools have been approved to open from September 2012. Approved plans include a new school for vulnerable young people to be run by Everton Football Club.
The eight new Free Schools - including three special schools and five alternative provision schools - join 79 others that are due to open from next year onwards.
Like Academies, Free Schools have greater freedoms than local authority run schools, giving teachers the power to make decisions that are right for local children. Free Schools will help raise standards for all children, particularly those living in disadvantaged communities.
Groups can apply to open schools in these - and other - Government buildings that are surplus or under-used, where appropriate. The Government also wants more surplus or under-used public buildings to make space available to Free Schools.
The first special Free Schools are being set up by passionate and talented groups, who want to improve state education provision and choice for families with children with special education needs (SEN) and disabilities. Too often, parents struggle to find a special school that meets the needs of their child.
New alternative provision Free Schools will allow more children, who would not receive the right education in a mainstream school, to get a good education. Pupils that attend alternative provision schools are some the most vulnerable young people in society. They include pupils who have been excluded, are ill, have been severely bullied or are teenage parents. Current provision is very mixed, and the vast majority of pupils leave alternative provision without the qualifications they need for employment or further study.
Three special schools and five alternative provision schools have been approved today. They are:
Rosewood school, Southampton (Age 2 - 19 special school)
City of Peterborough Academy special school, Peterborough ( Age 4 - 18 special school)
The Lighthouse School, Leeds (Age 11 - 19 special school)
Derby Pride Academy, Derby (Age 11 - 16 alternative provision school)
Harmonize Academy, Liverpool (Age 13 -19 alternative provision school)
Stone Soup Learns, Nottingham (Age 11 - 19 alternative provision school)
Everton in the Community Free School Trust, Liverpool (Age 14 - 19 alternative provision school)
East Birmingham Network, Birmingham (Age 13 - 16 alternative provision school)
Education Secretary Michael Gove said:
"No child - regardless of their circumstances - should be denied an excellent education that is close to home.
"An education where teachers are free to decide what is best and where standards are high.
"Through Free Schools, we are breaking down barriers to make this a reality for some of the poorest and most vulnerable children in the country.
"The good schools lottery must end."
David Moyes, Manager of Everton FC, said:
"This would represent a fantastic opportunity for Everton Football Club and its charitable arm, Everton in the Community, to further extend its reach into a wide variety of communities across the Merseyside region. It would, unquestionably, provide a real chance for some less-privileged, less-fortunate children to embrace - and to benefit from - a high-quality education."
For further information please visit the Department of Education website.