Peterborough to get two new free schools

Topping out ceremony at the new  Hampton Gardens secondary school with guests and staff from builders Carillion EMN-160612-153454009

Topping out ceremony at the new Hampton Gardens secondary school with guests and staff from builders Carillion EMN-160612-153454009

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Peterborough is to get two new free schools, the Government has announced.

The Department for Education revealed this morning (Wednesday, April 11) that Hampton East Primary School and Paston Reserve Primary School have been approved.

Free schools - which can be set up by parents, teachers, charities, businesses, cultural and sporting bodies, community groups, academy trusts and existing schools - have proven controversial because they are outside of local authority control and, unlike academies, are exempt from the national curriculum.

They can also set their own pay and conditions for staff and change the length of school terms and the school day.

However, the Department for Education claims that free schools are one of the highest performing group of non-selective state schools.

The schools are funded by the Government, and the organisations which run them cannot make a profit. Moreover, they cannot be academically selective.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said: “We need schools that can bring out the best in every single child no matter where they’re growing up, how much their parents earn, or however different their talents are.

“That’s why these new schools are so important - they give us the school places we need for the future, and they also give parents more choices to find a great school place in their area that’s right for their child.”

In total, the Government has announced 131 new free schools.

Further details have been not given on the Peterborough free schools, but the Peterborough Telegraph reported in January that a free school bid for a new two-form primary in Hampton had been submitted by the Hampton Academies Trust to help ease the pressure on the three existing Hampton primaries.

It was hoped that new school would open from September 2019.

In January, the reception year waiting list in Hampton averaged between 50 to 60 children, according to Peterborough City Council.

However, Brian Howard, the council’s head of schools infrastructure, said: “These children will be in schools, perhaps even in one Hampton school, but on a waiting list for one of the others as their preference.”

Moreover, the council’s school organisation plan has an entry for Paston Reserve Primary.

The report states that a free school bid was submitted Arthur Mellows Village College for a new two form of entry school.

It adds: “The intention is to open the school from September 2018 but this may best be deferred until September 2019 to open concurrent with the secondary school.”

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