Head’s delight as new free school is given approval
Search is now on to find a home for the new Bishop Arden Church of England School
A NEW free school in Hillingdon is set to open in September 2018 after being approved by the government.
The Bishop Ramsey Academy Trust, which runs the OFSTED ‘outstanding’ Bishop Ramsey School Church of England School, has been approved by the Department for Education (DfE) to launch the new school.
No location has been found for the school yet, but the Education Funding Agency is currently searching to find a home for the new Bishop Arden Church of England School.
The mixed school will be six form entry, will have six classes per year, and will be open to ‘children of a Christian faith, another world faith or no faith’.
Executive principal, Andrew Wilcock, said: “We couldn’t be more delighted. We had a very tough interview with the DfE on July 1 and have been waiting to find out if we would be given the go-ahead since then.
“Our new school will build upon principles we have successfully established at Bishop Ramsey; I know local families will want and expect us to do this.”
According to Hillingdon Council, by September 2019 there could be 349 pupils in the north of the borough without a secondary place if a new school is not built by 2018.
The Bishop Ramsey Academy Trust submitted its bid to the DfE in March.
It was supported by the London Diocesan Board for Schools, whose chief executive Inigo Woolf said: “This news allows for more children in the area to receive an education based on the successes of an oversubscribed ‘outstanding’ school.
“The new school will help address the need for school places in the area and give parents an additional choice.”
Bishop Arden, which will cater to students from 11 to 18-yearsold, now moves into the preopening stage, which includes finding a location, pupil recruitment and staffing.
Free schools differ from regular secondary schools because they are funded by government but are not run by the local council.
This gives management greater control over pay for staff, the length of school terms, and they do not have to follow the national curriculum.
They are run on a not-for-profit basis and can be set up by charities, universities, community and faith groups and parents.
Mr Wilcock added: “Our new school, Bishop Arden Church of England School, will not however simply be a ‘Bishop Ramsey two’.
“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.”
n SUCCESS: Andrew Wilcock, the school’s executive principal