Gove backs Suffolk free school plans in Commons

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MICHAEL Gove has urged parents to get behind plans for three new Free Schools in Suffolk – including one proposed for Brandon.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, the Secretary of State for Education responded to calls from Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, for parents to express an interest in the proposed free schools in Brandon, Stanton and Ixworth.

Mr Gove said: “Absolutely. One of the great things about Suffolk as a local authority is that its leader and its lead member for education recognise that, at a time of change, embracing academies and free schools can complement the already great state schools for which they are responsible. As for visionary leadership in local government, you have to go a long way to beat Suffolk.”

Mr Hancock, who has backed plans for the Brandon Free School, said he was pleased to get Mr Gove’s support.

“Post-11 schools at Breckland and in Ixworth or Stanton would mean local children will have the chance to be educated locally instead of having to travel much further every day to school. It is vital at this early stage that parents express their initial interest,” he said.

Brandon’s Free School would replace the Breckland Middle School, set for closure in August 2012.

Sabres Educational Trust, the group dealing with the school’s application process, announced at a public meeting last month the four education providers shortlisted to run the school.

Edison Learning, CfBT, Breckland School Company and the Internationella Engelska Skolan (IES), a provider based in Sweden.

Gordon Warnes, chairman of Sabres, said: “We’ve got a great building, commitment from local people and the support of the local authority.

“The four companies that we have shortlisted have all run schools before. They have demonstrated their ability to set up schools from scratch well within the timescales we are looking at.”