Wye Valley Free School wins place on national programme

Wye Valley Free School will have a strong commitment to having a fair and accessible admissions poli

Wye Valley Free School will have a strong commitment to having a fair and accessible admissions policy and to ensuring each child flourishes and reaches their full potential both academically and personally. - Credit: Archant

Wye Valley Free School is one of over 70 groups of teachers, parents and charities to have so far won a place on a national programme designed to provide tailored support for groups that want to set up new Free Schools.

Wye Valley Free School is a parent led proposal to open an ‘all-through’ age 4-16 small school. The school will be located in the Wye Valley as close to the borders of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire as possible, and will have a strong commitment to having a fair and accessible admissions policy and to ensuring each child flourishes and reaches their full potential both academically and personally.

Run by independent education charity, the New Schools Network (NSN), the Development Programme provides personalised support to Free Schools groups as they prepare to submit an application to the Department for Education (DfE) to open a Free School from 2015.

Natalie Evans, NSN’s Director said: “Every year, we work with hundreds of groups who want to set up new Free Schools, supporting them as they prepare their applications to the DfE. The Development Programme provides intensive, bespoke support to groups that show particular promise and who are targeting pupils who need new schools the most.

“Free Schools have now established themselves on the educational landscape, fast becoming firm favourites with parents across the country. Almost 300 new Free Schools have now either opened or been approved to open, providing hundreds of thousands of much needed new school places. In a recent survey, the DfE found that, on average, the seventy-nine open Free Schools received three applications for every place. But the interest in setting up new schools is unabated. Year on year, we have been very impressed by the calibre of the groups coming forward, all united in their commitment to create great new schools for local children.”

“The Development Programme has been designed to help support each group in making their vision a reality, and I am delighted to be welcoming Wye Valley Free School onto the programme. We look forward to working with them as they develop their plans in more detail and work with their local community to gather support for their proposed new school.”

The Development Programme has been running for two years; in 2013, 76% of Development Programme groups interviewed by the DfE were approved to open their Free Schools. The support to each group is tailored to their needs, but includes a dedicated NSN adviser, intensive educational, financial and operational advice, funding to support help them engage with their community and matchmaking to help them build their team. The total package of support is equivalent to around £5,000 per group.

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For more information, visit: www.newschoolsnetwork.org.uk/development-programme

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