A new free school bid is put together
5:30am Friday 22nd August 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
PLANS to put together another free school bid are making progress and now parents are being asked to support the proposal.
It is being put together by the Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust and will focus predominantly on central and south Swindon.
The bid is separate to one being put together by New College which will be targeted towards North Swindon.
If it goes ahead, the school will open in 2016 and cater for youngsters aged between 11 and 16. There is also a possibility that there will be a sixth form added at a later date when the school is expanded.
Initially, there would be an intake of 180 11-year-olds and then the school would grow from there.
At this stage, a location for the school is not known as a number of possible sites are selected and then the government will look to purchase one if the bid is successful.
Diocese chiefs have expressed a preference for a central site but it is understood Wichelstowe could be considered.
John Swainston, of the trust, said: “In September we will have eight primary schools so it makes sense for us to expand into secondary.
“With a lot of growth expected in Swindon over the coming years, there is a need for three more secondary schools.
“We are not competing with the North Swindon bid but looking to focus on other parts of the town.
“The primary schools we have are dotted around the town so it would make sense for us to go to a central site but if that is not possible we will be happy elsewhere.”
Any new school would be run with a Christian ethos and there would be a focus on developing numeracy and communication skills, such as through IT.
However, for the bid, which must be submitted in October, the Diocese need to gather signatures from 700 parents to prove there is adequate demand.
John said: “The most important thing is that parents who sign are not automatically signing their child up to come to the new school, rather they are expressing they would like the option to be available.
“Any parents can sign but those whose child will be 11 in 2016 carry added weight. So far, the support we have had has been very positive but small.
“When the schools return after the holidays we will be stepping up our campaign.”
To find out more about the school or add a supporting signature visit www.newtown.academy.
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