Free School Plans Seek Green Light

BY KATHRYN CAIN

A NEW free school could emerge if plans to build it are given the go-ahead by the Government.

Ten upper schools have joined together to submit a bid to the Department for Education for a free school educating up to 140 pupils to be constructed on the existing Kingsland site in Dunstable and the former Roecroft Lower School site in Stotfold.

The new facility woulf be dedicated to improving education for children who have been excluded from other schools and those who need extra personal support to succeed.

The running of the Pupil Referral Unit, which is currently undertaken by Central Bedfordshire Council, will be handed over to the ten upper schools.

The council has backed the bid – spear headed by giving funding for the free school and has even provided the two existing council-owned buildings for its use.

Cllr Mark Versallion pictured last year
Cllr Mark Versallion pictured last year

Cllr Mark Versallion, executive member for children’s services, said: “It is a demonstration of our commitment, as a council and that of both the upper and middle schools, to raise standards and ensure the very best educational opportunities for some of the most vulnerable pupils in Central Bedfordshire.”

The support for the free school by Central Bedfordshire Council is in comparison with concerns from schools in Bedforfd Borough that the Bedford Free School, which is due to open in September, will take students and funding away from other educational establishments in the area.

The upper schools which have submitted bids are spearheaded by Nigel Croft, head teacher of Redborne Upper School in Ampthill. In September 2011 Moorlands School, in Leagrave High Street, Luton, converted its status from and independent school to a government Free School ‘to allow out higher standard of education within small classes to be accessed by a wider range og families within the community’.

Moorlands is part of the Barnfield Federation and since January has been known as Barnfield Moorlands Free School.

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