Free School Proposed
With continued pressure on school places in the town, a group of local parents are applying to establish a free school, with a proposed opening provisionally scheduled for Autumn 2014.
A surge in births is already impacting the availability of primary school places in the town, especially in the East of the town. Additional classes at Bengeo School have gone some way to address the problem but parents are still finding it very difficult to place children in their chosen school or near to their homes.
The proposed school is the brainchild of local parent Karen Barry, who has formed a team who are in the process of applying for funding. The school would operate one or two classes to meet demand in the town, with a focus on outdoor and physical activities.
A location and premises for the school have yet to be identified.
Free schools were introduced by the coalition government following the 2010 general election. The schools are taxpayer funded but operated by organisations independent of the local education authority. These organisations can be operated by businesses, charities or groups of local parents or individuals. Free schools are subject to the School Admissions Code of Practice and are subject to Ofsted inspections just like state school, However, they do not have to follow the National Curriculum.