Michael Gove, the Chief Whip, who attended the lunch, lauded Baroness Evans, CEO of the New School Network, for her contribution to Britain’s education system.

More than 360 new schools have opened, or been approved, in the four years since Baroness Evans founded her Network. By the end of the year, they will provide around 250,000 new school places. Ofsted inspectors have rated more than 75% of these schools as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

"These schools are from the community for the community," Baroness Evans told Sian Hansen, Executive Director of the Legatum Institute. Local engagement starts from the beginning of the application process, with mainstream free schools having to show demand for new school from local parents. Free Schools are subject to the same regulatory framework as other Academies, with  Ofsted inspections conducted within two years.

The Department for Education, which funds individual Free Schools, holds them tightly to account on all financial matters. It also sets out the requirements for them to deliver education that meets high standards and teaches national values.

View Photos