New Schools Network unveils Advisory Council

The New Schools Network has unveiled its new Advisory Council, featuring 16 members including former schools minister David Laws and former Ofsted chair Baroness Morgan.

The formation of the Council follows the departure of former director Nick Timothy, who left to become joint chief of staff to Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Council brings together experts from education and the media, as well as national and local government, to support the charity in its work to promote increasing the number of free schools.

Notable members of the council include: David Laws, the Member of Parliament for Yeovil from 2001 to 2015 and Minister of State for Schools from 2012 to 2015; Baroness Morgan, adviser to the ARK board, chair of Ofsted from 2011 to 2014 and former director of government relations for Tony Blair; Philip Collins, columnist for The Times and former chief speech writer for former Prime Minister Tony Blair; and Matthew d’Ancona, a columnist for the Guardian who also writes for the Evening Standard, International New York Times and GQ.

David Ross, chair of Trustees at New Schools Network said: “The free schools programme is going from strength to strength. The government is receiving record numbers of free school applications and we have record numbers of groups on the New Schools Network Development Programme.

“As we grow, we want to make the most of the expertise that exists among our supporters. And that expertise is – as the membership of the Advisory Council shows – rich and varied, taking in leading figures from across the political spectrum, local and national government, the education profession and wider society.

“Local authorities are increasingly taking an active role in supporting the creation of new free schools so I am particularly pleased that local councillors from across the country have agreed to sit on the Council.

Baroness Morgan added: “Free schools are at the forefront of some really inventive ideas in education. They can offer an effective route for good schools to expand their reach and share their expertise more widely where local provision is not good enough. They also provide a great way for ambitious, committed and successful teachers to become school leaders for the first time.”

The full list of members is: Councillor Sean Anstee, Julian Astle, Jeremy Browne, Philip Collins, Matthew d’Ancona, Councillor Simon Dudley, Suella Fernandes MP, Councillor David Kershaw, David Laws, Stuart Leeming, Baroness Morgan, Lara Newman, Libby Nicholas, Paul Richards, Russell Rook and Simon Woolley.

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