15 Dec 2009,
But many parents worry their child's school will not maximise their potential, because there is too little personal attention in class, poor discipline or low attainment.
For those looking at the jump from nursery to primary school, the options can be limited. If you are wealthy, you can buy a house in the right catchment area or even pay school fees, but others are denied those options. An increasing number of parents are launching appeals because of where their child is placed at primary, and many are driven to desperation.
The New Schools Network is an independent charity which believes that where parents cannot access a good local state school, groups of teachers, charities, parents and other organisations should be able to set up state schools offering what parents want. Those schools would be able to offer a different curriculum and ethos, while still being inspected and held accountable.
An increasing body of international evidence shows that the best way of improving education - particularly for the most deprived - is to give those who cannot access a good local school an alternative. In the US and Sweden, new schools improve standards more quickly than those run by politicians, and in the process push existing schools to do better. The result has been a massive increase in standards and parental satisfaction, particularly among the poorest. In New York, for example, new schools have dramatically reduced the rich-poor gap.
The Network will give assistance to groups wishing to set up non-selective new state schools. We also make the case, with and on behalf of parents, for new schools that offer the education that parents want for their children.