Parents meet minister to discuss Free School

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A GROUP of parents are pressing ahead with plans to set up a Free School after holding a meeting with a Government minister.

The Ixworth and Stanton Free School Group discussed the proposals to establish the post-11 school with Education Secretary Michael Gove during his visit to Suffolk on Friday.

They are now preparing to formalise a detailed vision for the school and to submit a formal application to the Department for Education in early spring.

The group, which includes six parents with another 30 interested in joining, wants to set up the school on the site of either Ixworth or Blackbourne middle schools, which are due to close in 2014 as part of a switch to two tier education in the Thurston area.

A Free School is state funded but independent of local authority control

Two meetings were held earlier this month for parents to discuss the development.

Questions included which of the two sites might be favoured, curriculum, admissions policy, phasing of intake, local transportation and the projected size of the school.

Stephen Larder, a spokesman for the group, said: “A questionnaire was distributed and following the first phase of responses, 88 per cent were in support of a new free school and 76 per cent said they were ‘very likely’ to or ‘definitely’ would send their children to a new free school.”

When asked about those who may be against the plans, he said: “We’ve had people raise concerns. Our position on this is that we’re trying to create a school for the local community which has a vision from the parents and leadership we have.

“Our application will be about getting consensus and parents involved in the everyday planning and governance of the school. This is driven by a parent group who have the interests of the local children at heart.”

The group will hold a series of further meetings for parents and they are looking to extend their working groups to more parents, who want to get involved in the proposals. Anyone who is interested should email ixworthandstantonfree school@hotmail.co.uk