New Schools Network

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The New Schools Network is a charity devoted to promoting the creation of maintained charitable schools.[1]

The Independent's Hilary Wilce offered the following pen-portrait of the New School Network, in a November 2009 profile of its director, Rachel Wolf:

The New Schools Network is modelled on a similar advice centre in New York, and has Geoffrey Owen, a former Financial Times editor, as its chair, and Bruce Liddington, the former schools commissioner for England, and Julian Le Grand, professor of social policy at the London School of Economics, among its trustees. She declines to name her financial backers, saying only that they are "a relatively small number of individuals who have a long-standing interest in supporting education projects, particularly the academy programme."[2]


The Sunday Times reports that Network's genesis as follows:

Wolf says her inspiration to set up the New Schools Network, which will act as a “back-room operation”, providing administration and advice, came from a trip to New York. She flew there after working as a researcher for Michael Gove, the Conservative party’s education spokesman.[3]

Academies Lobby

The Liberal Conspiracy blog noted in November 2009 that:

Of the organisation’s nine listed trustees and advisers, six have a direct interest in diferrent elements of the government’s existing academies programme. Four – Sir Bruce Liddington (EACT) , Baroness Sally Morgan, Amanda Spielman (Both ARK Schools) and Christine Homer (David Ross Foundation/Havelock Academy) – are directly involved in organisations that are operating/opening academy schools. Spielman and Homer are both trustees of the New School Network, Liddington and Morgan are listed as advisers.[4]

Department for Education grant

In June 2010, the Department for Education announced that Education Secretary Michael Gove had:

Written to the New Schools Network to establish a formal relationship and to offer a £500,000 of initial funding to help make sure groups across the country get the support they need to start forming schools. The New Schools Network will act as the first point of contact for all groups who wish to start schools and will provide them with information as they go through the process and prepare their proposals.[5]

The Guardian's Tom Clark suggested that the role offered to the New Schools Network " potentially puts it in a position of influence over the new generation of schools, since it will be advising parents and teachers as they fill out the forms in which they must specify their educational aims."[6]






  1. NEW SCHOOLS NETWORK, Charity Framework, Register of Charities, Charity Commission, accessed 16 August 2010.
  2. Hilary Wilce, Time for change: How a young woman plans to shake up the school system, Independent, 12 November 2009.
  3. Sian Griffiths, Me and my 350 schools, Sunday Times, 21 February 2010.
  4. Unity, Tory Michael Gove offers support for controversial school programme, Liberal Conspiracy, 10 November 2009.
  5. Gove: ‘Free Schools will enable excellent teachers to create new schools and improve standards for all children.’, Department for Education, 18 June 2010.
  6. Tom Clark, New Schools Network lacks transparency, The Guardian, 6 July 2010.
  7. About Us - Our Team, New Schools Network, accessed 16 August 2010.
  8. About Us - Our Team, New Schools Network, accessed 9 June 2011.
  9. Policy Exchange names former Tory election candidate as new deputy director, Public Affairs News, 7 April 2011, accessed 9 June 2011
  10. About Us - Our Team, New Schools Network, accessed 16 August 2010.
  11. About Us - Our Team, New Schools Network, accessed 16 August 2010.