TWO more free primary schools are to open in the borough and ease the shortage of school places.
The Department for Education has agreed plans for Earls Court Primary School to open under the West London Free School Academy Trust, and for ARK Burlington Danes Academy to extend. That would bring the total number of free schools in Hammersmith and Fulham to seven.
Toby Young, founder of the popular West London Free School (primary and secondary), also behind Earls Court Primary, is well on the way to fulfilling his vision of opening six schools in the area by 2018.
Earls Court Primary will open temporarily at the West London Free Primary School (WLFS), which is due to open in Hammersmith this autumn, before moving to its permanent home in the Earls Court redevelopment. Here it will reach its full capacity of 300 pupils.
Mr Young said: "The Earls Court Primary School will offer the same classical liberal education as the West London Free School, an offer that has proved popular with local parents. The WLFS secondary is currently the most over-subscribed state secondary in Hammersmith and Fulham and the WLFS primary is the most over-subscribed state primary in Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster."
Burlington Danes Academy’s new primary, for up to 360 pupils, will specialise in maths and science, with teachers from the secondary school teaching years five and six.
Principal Dame Sally Coates said: "Burlington Danes is a very good school and it will enable us to make sure there is a rigorous curriculum from the beginning, so the children will already be up to a high level before they enter secondary school."
Councillor Helen Binmore, cabinet member for children’s services, said the borough’s free schools were a real success story.
She added: “We were one of the first councils to back parents, schools and others wanting to set up and run their own schools and I am delighted that we have the go-ahead to offer even more options to local families.”
The Rise School, which will be the first free special school to open in west London catering for children with high functioning autism, could also open in the borough.
Its founder, Kensington and Chelsea mum Charlotte Warner, is looking for premises in Hammersmith or Ealing.