Roadshow spreads word about free school s option

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A charity encouraging parents and organisations to set up new free schools has brought its roadshow to Barnsley this week.

A pop-up shop has been set up in the Alhambra Shopping Centre by the New Schools Network as part of a national campaign.

South Yorkshire has one of the lowest numbers of free schools in the country - three.

The charity says it wants to gather the views of parents and teachers in the area on the issue, which is a flagship policy for Education Secretary Michael Gove.

It argues that free schools could help address shortages in school places, improve educational standards or create greater choice for local parents.

Barnsley has been chosen for attention due to its poor education record.

Only 50 per cent of children achieve five A*-C GCSEs, compared to the national average of 61 per cent while over a quarter of schools are rated as underperforming by Ofsted.

Natalie Evans, director of the New Schools Network, said: “We know South Yorkshire is yet to fully benefit from free schools. We are visiting the area to make sure parents, teachers and other organisations that might have the skills and expertise to set up a great new school know it is an option.”