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

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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