Am­bi­tious plans for new com­pre­hen­sive

Trust wants to open free school to meet de­mand

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­

HILLING­DON bor­ough could be home to a new Church of Eng­land ‘free’ school if an Academy Trust bid is suc­cess­ful.

The Bishop Ram­sey Academy Trust will sub­mit a bid to the Depart­ment for Education on March 2, for per­mis­sion to open a free school in the north of the bor­ough.

The new school, which will be called Bishop Ar­den Church of Eng­land School, will be a six form en­try com­pre­hen­sive, for pupils aged 11 to 18, and is planned to open in Septem­ber 2018.

An­drew Wil­cock, who has been head­teacher at Bishop Ram­sey Church of Eng­land School in Ruis­lip since 2002, said: “For us at the Bishop Ram­sey Academy Trust, start­ing a new school to serve a dif­fer­ent group of peo­ple is a log­i­cal step.

“I am very aware that the de­mand for places at Bishop Ram­sey far out­weighs the num­ber of places we can of­fer.

“Par­ents tell me of their frus­tra­tion at not be­ing granted a place for their child at Bishop Ram­sey and this is an is­sue that I have been keen to ad­dress for some time.

“We know that our new school, Bishop Ar­den Church of Eng­land School, will help us to ad­dress this de­mand.

“Our new school, Bishop Ar­den Church of Eng­land School, will not, how­ever, sim­ply be a ‘Bishop Ram­sey 2’, it will take some of the best of our cur­rent prac­tice to cre­ate some­thing which is ex­cit­ing, dy­namic and suited to the par­tic­u­lar needs and as­pi­ra­tions of chil­dren in its lo­cal area.”

The new school will build upon prin­ci­ples es­tab­lished at Bishop Ram­sey Church of Eng­land School, but will of­fer at least 50 per cent of places to chil­dren of non-Chris­tian faiths or no faith.

The trust hopes that mem­bers of all faith com­mu­ni­ties will see Bishop Ar­den School as the nat­u­ral place to send their chil­dren be­cause it will “share the high stan­dards that Bishop Ram­sey is known for”.

The Academy Trust, if given the go-ahead will work with the DfE to seek a site for the new school within a mile and a half of Ruis­lip.

Ul­ti­mately, the de­ci­sion of where the school will be is in the hands of the Education Fund­ing Agency, but the trust hope for a lo­ca­tion in the north of the bor­ough as this will be close enough to Bishop Ram­sey to “en­able re­sources to be shared eas­ily”.

Bishop Ram­sey will be hold­ing two open evenings to give more in­for­ma­tion to prospec­tive par­ents, whose chil­dren will cur­rently be in Year 3 and Year 4.

Th­ese events will be held on Fe­bru­ary 22 and 23, at 7pm at Bishop Ram­sey School, Hume Way, Ruis­lip, HA4 8EE.

Par­ents who are in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing the new school are in­vited to reg­is­ter on Bishop Ar­den School’s web­site at www.bish­opar­den­school. org.

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