Portishead free school plans submitted to Government
Plans for a new free school in Portishead have been submitted to the Government.
The Village Quarter Parents’ Action Group and educational adviser Marcus Orlovsky have spent several weeks preparing an application for a new free school in the town.
The application, which sets out in detail plans for the new school, was submitted to the Department of Education’s Free Schools Application Team on Friday.
It will now be considered by Government education chiefs and it is hoped a decision will be made within the next few months whether funding for the scheme will be available.
One location being considered is unused office blocks in Newfoundland Way although other sites across the town are also being investigated.
The school would open in September 2014, initially with 60 places for reception class students. There would also be 30 class places for Year 1 and Year 2 students.
The application also contains details of the school’s planned curriculum and ethos and how it would be run. It is hoped that over the years the school would grow, eventually offering 420 additional class places for students in the town.
The application also includes feedback from parents, statistics regarding the lack of school places in Portishead and projections about how the town is likely to grow.
It also features details about how the action group was formed and how the growth of Portishead has led to insufficient school places in the town.
Village Quarter Parents’ Action Group spokeswoman Laura Haseldine said: “We are really pleased with how the application has come together and hope the Department of Education feels the same.
“This is a very detailed business plan for how the school will launch, run and develop.
“We feel that a new free school is the best long term solution to the ongoing issue with a lack of school places in Portishead.
“North Somerset Council cannot continue to put temporary classrooms here, there and everywhere.
“A free school is the way forward and we believe the plan we have pulled together is truly special.”
It is likely that Government representatives will visit Portishead in the coming months to speak to members of the action group and Mr Orlovky about the plans.
If agreed, funding for the new school would come from the Department of Education.
A special trust – the Village Quarter School Trust – has already been set up as part of the application process.
If plans are agreed the trust would run and administer the school, appoint staff and agree the curriculum.
Mr Orlovsky is a founder member and director of educational change consultants Bryanston Square – one of three organisations to put forward a bid to open a free school in the town.
The move to look at setting up a free school in Portishead follows mounting concern about the lack of class places in the growing town.
This year more than 20 students failed to get a place at a primary school in the town, with some children now travelling to class in Pill or Clevedon.
Schools in Portishead have already been expanded since 2010 but statistics have revealed that there will be a shortfall of 103 school primary spaces in the town by 2015.
If the free school plan gets the green light, it would be the first school of its kind to open in North Somerset.