Former Number 10 policy guru to open chain of free schools based on ‘knowledge and virtue’

A former adviser to David Cameron and one of the chief proponents behind the “character education” movement is opening a string of free schools in West London.

James O’Shaughnessy (pictured), who acted as chief policy adviser to the prime minister in Number 10, is expected to open two primary schools in September next year that will deliver a curriculum based on “knowledge and virtue”.

The former wonk was one of the main driving forces behind the coalition’s “happiness index” when in Downing Street, which aimed to measure Britain’s well-being, and he is now bringing his philosophy to a chain of free schools.

After leaving Number 10’s policy unit, he set up Floreat Education, and has been working with the support of his alma mater, the £33,000-a-year boarding school Wellington College, as well as the University of Birmingham and Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust to open the primary schools.

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