The prime minister is to announce plans for another 102 free schools, to open from September 2013 onwards.
The move doubles at a stroke the number of schools approved by the Department for Education (DfE), which said that the news showed that "the number of free schools set to open each year is rapidly rising".
The first 24 opened last year. Another 50 or so are in the pipeline.
It remains unclear how buildings for the new schools are to be funded, however. Capital funding for the projects has yet to be decided, and government advisors said it was too early to comment on specific projects.
Government figures show that the average capital cost of the first wave of free schools was expected to be between £4.6 million and £5.4 million. If repeated, this would mean that buildings for the 152 schools still in the pipeline would cost upwards of £700 million.
Last November, the Treasury allocated £600 million to the programme.
Rachel Wolf, the director of the New Schools Network, which helps groups that want to set up new free schools, welcomed this morning’s news.
“We are excited that such a large proportion of the schools are coming from with the education sector," she said. "With over half of the groups approved today being school-led, the profession is voting with its feet.
“Teachers across the country are recognising that free schools give them the opportunity to set up and run schools as they see fit, without being encumbered by unnecessary process and bureaucratic controls.”
The schools approved today include 40 mainstream primaries, 28 mainstream secondaries, five special schools and 12 "alternative provision" schools.
Five are independent schools which are joining the state sector.
More than a third of the new schools (34) are in the London area, which is experiencing a major shortfall in school places. The DfE says that 88% of the new primary schools are in areas facing a shortfall of primary places.