PRESS RELEASE: Free schools are giving parents more choice


Compass School Southwark says free schools are giving parents more choice of secondary schools in the borough

As parents across London hear this week whether they have been allocated their first choice of secondary school for their child, Compass School Southwark in Bermondsey explains how free schools are offering more options for parents.

Across the country, new free schools are filling a need for good secondary school places. Compass School opened in September 2013 with the vision of delivering a world class education to the young people of its community. The schools vision is that “everyone in the Compass School community will confidently reach the destination to which they aspire”. The school has made more offers than ever before for places in September 2015, with a few spaces still available.

The school is one of 360 free schools, including 107 secondary free schools, which are either open or approved to open. Once all of these schools are full they will provide almost 200,000 new school places, including over 50,000 secondary places.

Across Southwark just 61 per cent of parents get their first choice of secondary schools.

Speaking on behalf of the school, Lauren Thorpe, Principal of Compass School Southwark said:

“The feedback that we have had from parents and prospective parents about our school has been fantastic. Our expectations are incredibly high, and visitors always comment that they can see and feel this from the moment they walk through the door. We have worked hard to create a culture where our values of aspiration, integrity, exploration and resilience are visible in all aspects of school life, and we are incredibly proud to serve our local community.

“This is an anxious and challenging time for parents and young people, and we know that not all families will have been allocated the school that they want. My advice to parents is that if our values chime with your own, then get in touch and consider Compass School Southwark for your child. We are already looking forward to working with our next cohort of families ahead of September.”

Natalie Evans, director of education charity, New Schools Network, which helps groups to set up free schools, said:

 “Unfortunately, not all parents will receive the good news that they have hoped for today. Free schools are playing an important role in London in helping address the need for good school places and are proving popular with parents.

“Our most recent parent survey revealed that 34 per cent of parents in London (9 per cent higher than the national average) would have chosen a different school if they had had a chance, representing more than 300,000* families across the region. 79 per cent said they would consider sending their child to a new school.”

 Interested parents can find out more about Compass School Southwark at, or call on 0203542 6506 to find out more or arrange to attend one of our coffee mornings for prospective parents being held on 11, 12 and 13 March.

Notes for Editors

Compass School Southwark is located on Drummond & Keeton’s Road, Bermondsey, SE16 4EE, a short walk from Bermondsey Tube station. You can contact the school for more information or media enquiries on 020 3542 6506 or by emailing

* NSN took the number of families from the 2011 census data, divided by Government Office Region. Families in a region have been defined as the total number of households in the following categories – No adults or one adult and one or more children; Two adults and one or two children; Two adults and three or more children; Three or more adults and one or more children. Source:

The total number of households with children was then compared to the percentage of respondents in each region who said they would have preferred another choice of school to determine the number of households in each region who may feel this way.

NSN parent poll

Populus interviewed a random sample of 5,240 adults online between 6th and 14th August 2014, including 1,295 parents of children aged 4 – 18. Interviews were conducted across England and the results have been weighted to be representative of all adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For a full description of the methods we use, please see<

New Schools Network is an independent charity set up in 2009. We aim to improve the quality of education – particularly for the most deprived – by increasing the number of independent, innovative schools within the state sector.

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