Free School wins DfE approval

CAMPAIGNERS were celebrating this week as a ground-breaking Free School was rubber-stamped after a three year struggle.

Lord Hill, parliamentary under-secretary of state for schools, officially gave the new Breckland Free School in Brandon the go-ahead on Monday.

The approval means that the school – currently Breckland Middle School – will remain open, with Suffolk County Council having earmarked it for closure in July.

Gordon Warnes, leader of Sabres Educational Trust, which spearheaded the Free School campaign, broke the news at a public meeting last Thursday.

The school – officially called IES Breckland – will be run by Swedish education provider, International English School (IES). It is the first agreement of its kind in the country.

Sherry Zand, principal designate, said: “Our vision for IES Breckland is for it to be a stimulating, secure and inclusive centre of both academic and vocational excellence in which students from all backgrounds and faiths in Brandon and its surrounding areas are equally valued.

“We want IES Breckland to be a school that supports each child to achieve better than they first thought possible.”

The school will take on 11-16 year-olds. Closure would have left Brandon without a school for this age group.

The school was also backed by Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk.

He said: “For too long Brandon has felt let down and this decision is a moment when the town can look forward to the future with confidence.

“The Sabres campaign group deserve to be proud of their achievement after many years of painstaking and determined work.”

Barbara Bergstrom, IES’ owner, said the school would look internationally for teachers, with recruiters heading out to Canada and the US in the next few weeks to begin looking for teachers.

Sabres is still looking for parents to make applications should they want their child to attend the school.

Go to www.sabreseducationaltrust.com for more information.