The largest academy chain in the country has announced it has been given permission to open two free schools near Northampton.
REAch2 Academy Trustsaid it will open a school each in both Collingtree and the Moulton area in the coming years.
The trust was yesterday announced as one of the organisations to be approved to set up new free schools and will establish 22 of the proposed 77 across the country.
A spokeswoman said: "Northamptonshire will be one of the areas to benefit, with two free schools to be opened by REAch2 over the next few years.
"These new primary schools will be in Collingtree and Moulton."
It is likely that REAch2 will build the schools within future housing estates on the edge of the villages, but the academy trust was yesterday unwilling to say exactly which land they had earmarked.
The news came as a surprise to community leaders in both Collingtree and Moulton.
Both parish councils said their initial reaction was that there was no obvious piece of land for a new school.
Barry Care, chairman of Moulton Parish Council, added: "It's very hard for me to make a comment because there's not much information, but I would say that we have two schools here already, both of which have very good reputations."
The announcement essentially means that the Department for Education has deemed two new free schools necessary in Collingtree and Moulton, but consultation and planning approval will still need to be sought.
The spokeswoman for REAch2 said: “We are delighted to have been approved to open two new free schools in Northamptonshire and look forward to working with the council and the local community more generally as we develop our proposals further.”