Group unveils plan for new free school

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A SCHOOL for children who find mainstream education difficult could be coming to Thetford.

Thetford Free School is the vision of a group of Thetford teachers and trustees.

The school aims to open in September 2011 and would cater for children with needs including behavioural problems, special educational needs and those without a school place.

At a public meeting at the Guildhall on Wednesday night, a presentation was given on what the school would offer.

Nico Dobben, the prospective head teacher, said the school would provide an alternative to orthodox schooling with a focus on teaching life skills alongside academic qualifications.

“All children have something they are good at, something they can achieve.

“We want to be a school for everyone and that includes children who struggle as well as high achievers,” he said.

Regular outdoor activities, including trips and practical lessons would be part of the school’s curriculum.

“We think children learn from doing things and making mistakes and then having people show them the right way to do them.

“That means they won’t need to be taught, they would learn through doing it themselves,” Mr Dobben added.

Parents’ response to the presentation was positive.

Thetford mum Rebecca Foster, whose son, Jack, has to travel to Norwich to attend Clare Special School, said the presentation was an ‘eye-opener’.

“I thought it was going to be another school where kids just get one to one but it looks like they will be getting a much more hands on approach,” she said.

Emma Rogers, whose autistic 12-year-old son Aaron is currently without a school, said: “There’s such a need for this in Thetford.

“I know lots of parents who are crying out for it.”

The school now need support from 27 signatories to send to the Department of Education.