The Education Secretary approved applications for new free schools across the country on Friday (14/06), giving more pupils across the UK the opportunity to enhance their skills, no matter their income or location. And, the great news is that Birmingham Ormiston Academy’s was the only post-16 school application approved in the wave!

The Stage and Screen Production programme will be a unique, niche school delivering education and training in technical, creative, administrative and managerial aspects of the creative industries.

The aim to produce a diverse pool of practitioners for the industry, supporting employability and productivity. BOA will offer this wide range of opportunities, which in turn will greatly satisfy the blossoming creative economy.

Damian Hinds confirms that 22 applications to create new free schools have been successful – creating an extra 19,000 places in the areas that need them most. Taking the government a step closer to delivering on its pledge to create one million new school places by 2020.

BOA Stage and Screen Production, one of the successful applications, is an exciting new 16-19 specialist college in the centre, set up by Birmingham Ormiston Academy; offering a range of vocational and high level technical qualifications for students wishing to enter TV, Film or Theatre professions.

The Shireland CBSO Music School, a new specialist music school, serving the West Midland was also successful. The Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust are working in collaboration with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to provide young people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to achieve musically at an elite level.

The latest approvals are targeted in areas of the country most in need – with 18 of the new schools set to open in local authorities identified by the Department for Education as having the lowest educational performance and insufficient capacity to improve – and areas that have not yet benefitted from the free schools programme.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

“Free Schools have revolutionised education in this country – through their innovation and a different way of thinking about teaching and learning they are a fantastic addition to our education system.

“Many parts of the country have already taken advantage of the Free School Programme and have reaped the benefits. A great education is the key to unlocking every child’s potential so today we are announcing 22 new free schools so more young people – often in the most disadvantaged areas of the country – can benefit from a great free school opening in their area.

“I look forward to seeing the schools as they are built, and how the young people studying there flourish and go on to succeed.”

Today’s news follows a reception to celebrate the free schools programme hosted by the Prime Minister and Education Secretary at Downing Street on 30 May – with both paying tribute to the programme’s successes in empowering high-performing institutions to take a more innovative approach to teaching to create a diverse range of schools and more choice for parents.

It also follows the announcement in March of 37 new special free schools, and two alternative provision free schools, creating 3,500 extra school places for pupils facing challenges in their education.

Applicants will be able to register their interest for the next round of free schools shortly, and will again target areas with low standards and demographic need for the new school places.