School scheme moves ahead
PLANS for a new Free School in North Swindon are progressing well, with only a few months left until the final submission has to be made.
Owing to a future shortage in secondary school places in the area, New College is preparing a bid which needs to be given to the Department of Education by the start of October.
Much of the necessary paperwork has been done and now 750 signatures from parents who would potentially send their child to the school are also required.
Approximately 300 have so far been gathered and leaflets are being sent out to the parents of primary school children across North Swindon.
Graham Taylor, the principal of New College, said: “Overall we have been pleased with the response from people.
“Whenever you speak with people they say the option of a new school would be great.
“The difficulty then is getting them to go out and sign but I’m confident we will get everything we need, even if I have to go and stand outside Asda myself.
“Whatever happens we will be submitting the bid at the beginning of October.”
It is predicted that by 2016 there will be a shortfall of more than 200 Year 7 places in North Swindon, a figure which could double by 2019.
As a result Mr Taylor believes the case for opening a school is very strong and if that was all that was need then they could submit the bid today.
“In terms of the educational need then we have an overwhelming case,” he said.
“I don’t believe there is anywhere in the country which has such a strong need as Swindon. The document which outlines this is about 100 pages.
“This plan outlines the curriculum we will be using but because we are sticking to the National Curriculum this won’t be a problem.
“What there will be are longer days so we can add on business and computing courses.
“We need to identify a number of sites for the school, which the Government will then decide on if the bid is successful.
“We have about three or four sites where it could go so that part of the bid is sorted as well.”
Among the locations are the former Motorola factory and land around the Tadpole Farm development. To find out more visit www.newschoolfornorth swindon.org.
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