The increasing demand for secondary education in North Swindon has prompted Isambard School headteacher Rachael Mattey and school governors to set the ball rolling on a bid for a brand new free school to serve the area and ensure that more children can access a local school without going by car or bus.
Commenting on her team’s course of action Rachael said: “Swindon Borough Council are aware of a need for school places in this area, but not as soon as we perceive it, which is 2014.”
About 200 free schools have been granted approval since the government announced its Partnerships for Schools policy to enable more choice for parents and more power for teachers.
Schools like this are created by groups of parents, teachers, charities or faith organisations, and, as David Cameron sees it, are key to transforming the education system and driving up standards.
However, Rachael sees a more pragmatic need for a free school in North Swindon. She said: “Local parents are really worried about where their children go to school, and would rather not put them on a bus, sometimes two, to get there.
“Our next steps are to show the demand for the school, identify possible sites and set out our vision for its curriculum and staffing requirements.”
Consultations to gauge demand for further 0 to 19 provision in the area, including a sixth form college, will begin in the autumn.