MP’s praise for Brandon free school’s first year

Matt Hancock is visiting IES Breckland in his capacity as minister for skills.'Matt Hancock, Sherry Zand
Matt Hancock is visiting IES Breckland in his capacity as minister for skills.'Matt Hancock, Sherry Zand

Brandon’s MP has praised the work of staff at IES Breckland Free School as it nears the end of its first year of teaching and prepares to expand.

Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, visited the school yesterday in his capacity as Minister for Skills.

He met with pupils and told them he would be taking their example ‘back to London’ as a model for Free Schools in the future.

“It’s extremely impressive to see what’s going on here in the classroom.

“It’s also very fulfilling having campaigned for the school to open and voted for the law that allowed it to happen,” he said.

Sherry Zand, principal, said the school had developed rapidly since it opened in September.

“It’s been an exhausting year but the rewards outdo the hard work.

“We’re all looking forward to next year where we double in size in terms of staff and we expand the range of subjects we teach too,” she said.

Work on a new building for the school continues, with a finish date of October 2.

The building, positioned behind the school’s tennis courts, will house a library alongside classrooms for maths and humanities.

Ms Zand said the new changes will enhance the school in readiness for a visit by Ofsted inspectors, which could happen ‘at any point’.

She said the authority’s visit would be an important assessment of the school’s progress.

“We are all preparing for Ofsted. That provides the drive and focus for us because you want to meet and exceed expectations,” she said.

Rosie Smith, 14, a Year 9 pupil who shares Head Girl duties, said the new school had been good students.

“When I come here it’s nice because the teachers are very open and you can talk to them.

“The classes aren’t too big either so it’s easier to get help in lessons,” she said.

James Osborne, 14, Head Boy, said: “I didn’t think the school could change this much but it’s far better.”