Muslim faith school and further eduction establishment specialising in sciences amongst three Free Schools set to open in Hackney next year

Three new schools are set to open in Hackney next year - a Muslim faith primary school, a secondary school specialising in music, and a further education centre specialising in the sciences.

The schools are among 34 approved in the capital and 102 across the whole country by the Secretary of State for Education on Friday.

The STEM Academy plans to offer places to 16-19 year olds from across the capital who have demonstrated an aptitude in science, technology, engineering and maths.

The idea is to equip pupils with academic and technical transferable skills, preparing them for an increasingly global and competitive work place.

Meanwhile, Hackney New School (HNS) wants to create a school in the De Beauvoir or Dalston area which will open up the widest range of opportunities in life to its students by fostering academic excellence and instilling self-belief, intellectual curiosity and responsibility towards others in society.

De Beauvoir resident Andreas Weisman, who came up with the idea said: “This is a great achievement particularly bearing in mind that a very detailed and comprehensive plan for HNS was put together in a very short period of time.”

he Olive School is going to be set up by the Tauheedul Islam Faith Education and Community Trust which already runs an outstanding girls’ secondary school in Bradford. Director of strategic partnerships, Linda Thompson said the organisation was approached by some Stamford Hill and Upper Clapton residents to set up a school here and they plant to teach a secular curriculum.

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“Whilst the underpinning faith is the Muslim faith, we want it to have universal appeal,” she said.

“There will be a strong underpinning of values, discipline and behaviour, and we want them to be values which will appeal to all parents who want the best for their children.”

All the schools are now looking for suitable sites.

Free schools were a centrepiece of the Conservatives’ election manifesto - the idea of local people setting up schools fitting in with its Big Society agenda

Similar to academies, they are semi-independent and outside of local authority control, funded directly by Westminster, with the freedom to vary the school day, terms, the curriculum and teachers’ pay and conditions.

Rachel Wolf, director of the charity set up to advise groups wanting to open a Free School, the New Schools Network, welcomed the expansion of the Free Schools programme.

“Since 2010 the Government has called for a superb new school in every community, this announcement sees the Free Schools Movement well on its way to making that vision a reality,” she said.

However parents and teachers who set up the Hackney Says No to ‘Free’ Schools group are not so welcoming

They believe free schools equate to money-making ventures for private companies and fragment the state education system.