PLANS to build a through school in North Swindon to cater for a shortage of places are progressing at a fast pace with organisers confident they will gather the support needed.

New College is looking to launch a free school to cater for children aged from four through to 18, with the possibility of a nursery.

If the bid is successful it is likely the school, while still offering a full curriculum, will focus on business administration and IT.

By 2016 there is set to be a huge shortage in secondary school places in the north of the town with a free school seen as the best solution.

In order to gain permission and funding from the government, the signatures are needed of around 350 parents who may send their children to the school.

“We have started a campaign to demonstrate there is sufficient parental demand,” said Graham Taylor, the principal of New College.

“The plan is to have gained that support by the next window for the applying which is in early May.

“We are working with the New Schools Network, an independent charity who specialise in bids, who have agreed to offer support.”

Over the weekend, 10,000 leaflets were distributed across the area informing residents of the plans.

“Although the marketing campaign is in its early days we have had good support from people,” said Graham.

“Over the coming months we will run several information events. It is important that people realise this is a problem which will not go away or get fixed by someone else.”

A key supporter of the bid is Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson who is confident it will be successful.

He said: “I am excited by this bid. I personally had approached New College to go for this free school bid and we decided the best focus for the school would be business, finance and IT.

“I would be very surprised if this bid was not successful as it is very strong.

“The community is absolutely right behind this bid both for the future of additional school places and the fact that New College has a very good track record.”