PARENTS hoping to open a new free school in Ealing have been given a massive boost after receiving the backing of an influential charity.
Those behind the Ealing Fields Free School – hoping to open in South Ealing– have secured a place on the New School’s Network’s national development programme after an intensive interview.
The South Ealing group will now receive detailed feedback on drafts of their application which they must send to the Department for Education.
They will also receive a grant to help with marketing, access to specialists including former headteachers, school business managers and experts in alternative provision and special educational needs.
Judith Mortell, an educational psychologist and leader of the Ealing Fields Free School steering group, said the success was a ‘major coup’.
Just 16 of the best groups from across the country were judged to have the high potential needed to be selected in this round.
Dr Mortell said: “We’re really delighted to have been accepted onto the development programme. Groups on the programme receive significant support in developing high quality applications.
“Support within the community is growing. Not only are parents coming on to the website to register their support, many are volunteering their time and expertise or asking how else they can support the campaign.”
In 2012, all of the charity’s development programme groups were awarded an interview by the Department for Education and 84 per cent were approved to open schools.
The Ealing Fields Free School is holding a meeting at the Navasartian Centre in Northfields Avenue, on Tuesday.
There will be two hour-long sessions, one from 7pm and the other from 8.30pm, designed to help parents find out more about the proposed school.
It will open in 2015 and have a maximum of 840 pupils, 120 in each year group.
Parents say the free school is vital as an expansion of local primary schools will place a strain on already over-subscribed secondary schools – leaving many children in South Ealing without places in future.
Free schools are not under local authority control so can ignore the national curriculum as well as pay and condition guidelines for staff, but are funded by the taxpayer.
For details visit www.ealingfields.co.uk .