Rotherham free school team seeking another 30 pupils

THE team behind plans for a free school in Rotherham say they need another at least another 30 pupils before the project can progress.

Education Secretary Michael Gove requires 50 expressions of interest before free school projects can move forward and so far the Rotherham Central project has had 20.

The woman behind the Rotherham project, lead trustee Charlotte Blencowe, said: “Our project is going well. We had around 20 parents asking to be kept informed within a day of the leaflets being handed out.

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“While there has been a great of opposition to the plan, particularly from the education establishment in Rotherham, parents are presenting us with a different view.

“One parent told us to have a choice would be wonderful because the school her son would have to go to was a poor performer, both in education and discipline.

“She wanted an extended school day to help her son, who at ten years old could still not read and write.”

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Free schools are directly funded by the Government and have greater freedom over their curriculum and how they operate.

Once enough parents show interest, a business plan can be drawn up and submitted.

But Cllr Paul Lakin, Cabinet member for children, said local schools were very popular with Rotherham people.

Figures released last week showed that more than 3,400 Rotherham students will attend their first choice of school, including youngsters living elsewhere but wishing to learn in the borough, the figure stands at 95 per cent.

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Cllr Lakin said: “This is again a great achievement for our schools and our admissions team, which co-ordinates the process for all secondary schools in the borough including the local academies.

“It is clear from these figures that our local schools remain popular with people in Rotherham. We work very hard to ensure that we can meet the desire of parents to have their children educated in our schools.”