Swindon AdvertiserPlan for new free school in North Swindon (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Plan for new free school in North Swindon

Swindon Advertiser: Principal of New College, Graham Taylor Principal of New College, Graham Taylor

PLANS to build a through school in North Swindon to cater for a shortage of places are progressing at a fast pace with organisers confident they will gather the support needed.

New College is looking to launch a free school to cater for children aged from four through to 18, with the possibility of a nursery.

If the bid is successful it is likely the school, while still offering a full curriculum, will focus on business administration and IT.

By 2016 there is set to be a huge shortage in secondary school places in the north of the town with a free school seen as the best solution.

In order to gain permission and funding from the government, the signatures are needed of around 350 parents who may send their children to the school.

“We have started a campaign to demonstrate there is sufficient parental demand,” said Graham Taylor, the principal of New College.

“The plan is to have gained that support by the next window for the applying which is in early May.

“We are working with the New Schools Network, an independent charity who specialise in bids, who have agreed to offer support.”

Over the weekend, 10,000 leaflets were distributed across the area informing residents of the plans.

“Although the marketing campaign is in its early days we have had good support from people,” said Graham.

“Over the coming months we will run several information events. It is important that people realise this is a problem which will not go away or get fixed by someone else.”

A key supporter of the bid is Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson who is confident it will be successful.

He said: “I am excited by this bid. I personally had approached New College to go for this free school bid and we decided the best focus for the school would be business, finance and IT.

“I would be very surprised if this bid was not successful as it is very strong.

“The community is absolutely right behind this bid both for the future of additional school places and the fact that New College has a very good track record.”

Comments (4)

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11:06am Thu 27 Feb 14

CocoaClown says...

Do they have any sites in mind for this school? I'm assuming that it is going to need quite a sizeable site to house a school for age 4 (possibly 3 years) to 18.
Also, is the secondary element open to anyone or only children that attend the primary element of this school? What numbers are proposed for nursery, primary, secondary and sixth form?
Do they have any sites in mind for this school? I'm assuming that it is going to need quite a sizeable site to house a school for age 4 (possibly 3 years) to 18. Also, is the secondary element open to anyone or only children that attend the primary element of this school? What numbers are proposed for nursery, primary, secondary and sixth form? CocoaClown
  • Score: 0

12:16pm Thu 27 Feb 14

LaL1973 says...

They've got a website up and running which has some of this information on it, although I don't think they've found a site yet. It's www.newschoolfornort
hswindon.org
They've got a website up and running which has some of this information on it, although I don't think they've found a site yet. It's www.newschoolfornort hswindon.org LaL1973
  • Score: 1

1:08pm Thu 27 Feb 14

KevinAGray says...

I can answer these questions directly if that will help.

There is an on-going investigation into possible sites. The potential list is not concrete enough at this time to be able to share with any confidence. In the mean time the way you should look at this bid is look at the need to increase parental choice. As it stands if you have a child moving to secondary school after 2016 and you live less than 0.7 miles from either Isambard or Nova Academy you are likely to have NO choice. A third school in the area will give you the freedom to choose the school best suited for your child.

The concept of primary feeders has effectively disappeared from the admissions process. The simplest part of the rule is straight line distance from the school. The further away you are the less likely you are to get in.
I can answer these questions directly if that will help. There is an on-going investigation into possible sites. The potential list is not concrete enough at this time to be able to share with any confidence. In the mean time the way you should look at this bid is look at the need to increase parental choice. As it stands if you have a child moving to secondary school after 2016 and you live less than 0.7 miles from either Isambard or Nova Academy you are likely to have NO choice. A third school in the area will give you the freedom to choose the school best suited for your child. The concept of primary feeders has effectively disappeared from the admissions process. The simplest part of the rule is straight line distance from the school. The further away you are the less likely you are to get in. KevinAGray
  • Score: 1

4:06pm Thu 27 Feb 14

CocoaClown says...

Thank you for the info.

You say that primary feeders have effectively disappeared, and this is probably the case for separate primary and secondary schools around the town, but having a 2 form entry primary school here, the parents of those children are likely going to want their children to remain at the secondary element of the school they already attend. Therefore, it is likely that 60 places are taken up before anyone else is even considered. Or are you saying that they would have to (re)apply as they would for any secondary school place or would they be prioritised as they already attend the school? Sorry if this is on the website, I've had a quick look and although it mentions about admission criteria, it doesn't mention about the primary to secondary step.

Also, should a parent have a child at the secondary element, would their younger child be prioritised for a primary place? Siblings are high on the criteria list for admissions of primary school, rightly so, but add in an extra 5, possible 7 school years of secondary and sixth form, it reduces peoples chances if they don't have another child currently at the school.

Sorry if these questions are premature.
Thank you for the info. You say that primary feeders have effectively disappeared, and this is probably the case for separate primary and secondary schools around the town, but having a 2 form entry primary school here, the parents of those children are likely going to want their children to remain at the secondary element of the school they already attend. Therefore, it is likely that 60 places are taken up before anyone else is even considered. Or are you saying that they would have to (re)apply as they would for any secondary school place or would they be prioritised as they already attend the school? Sorry if this is on the website, I've had a quick look and although it mentions about admission criteria, it doesn't mention about the primary to secondary step. Also, should a parent have a child at the secondary element, would their younger child be prioritised for a primary place? Siblings are high on the criteria list for admissions of primary school, rightly so, but add in an extra 5, possible 7 school years of secondary and sixth form, it reduces peoples chances if they don't have another child currently at the school. Sorry if these questions are premature. CocoaClown
  • Score: 0

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