New Schools in Swindon aren't just necessary because of the growing population of the town.

The council also wants to use them to drive up standards and attainment - and keep pupils within the borough.

Mr Cheal said: "We have seen a trend where we've seen parents sending their children to schools outside the borough, quite often to Braden Forest or Royal Wootton Bassett, because they're on the doorstep, but we've seen children travelling as far as Cheltenham or Stroud to go to the grammar schools there.

"We wanted to turn that around and increase the faith and confidence Swindon parents have in Swindon schools."

Mr Cheal said the borough council wasn't really able to specify to academy trusts or free school operators what they should be doing but added: "It's more about working with good companies, companies with a proven track record of running good schools and improving them and setting them a positive direction.

"It's Whitehall which will select the company in the final analysis, but we can encourage them to get involved and help with issues like highways and access, and planning - I came back on September 1 and had to deal with an issue about the footpath at William Morris School - but it's all part of it."

The council is also busy increasing the provision of nursery places run by primary schools themselves, in order to help the transition for very young children into school.