Free School could be open in 2014

A FREE School could open on the site of a threatened village middle school in September 2014.

The Ixworth and Stanton Free School Group plan to submit a bid at the end of the year to use the site of Ixworth Middle School.

Proposals for the post-11 school are moving forward after the parent-led group formed a partnership with The Seckford Foundation to deliver an educational plan as part of the bid.

The Woodbridge-based foundation runs the independent Woodbridge School and has established partnerships with free school organisations in Beccles, Saxmundham and Stoke By Nayland.

Stephen Larder, a parent in the Free School Group, said: “The ambition of our parent group was to create a school which would meet the expectations of as many parents as possible.

“The Seckford Foundation mirrors our vision so closely that the partnership with them is a logical step forward and we believe by working with them we could deliver an excellent choice for education in our local communities.”

The Free School ties in with a switch to two-tier education in the Thurston area, including the planned closure of Beyton, Ixworth and Blackbourne middle schools in 2014.

The project has been backed by West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock and Suffolk county councillor Joanna Spicer, who represents the Blackbourn division.

Mr Hancock said: “The new partnership between parents and the Seckford Foundation is excellent news.

“The Seckford Foundation’s long record of excellent education is well known and together they are a formidable combination.

“I will be doing all I can to help ensure they get the go-ahead from ministers and build an outstanding school that can give an inspiring education to all local children.”