A FORMER Stanmore College teacher wants to set up the first secondary 'free school' in Harrow, but needs the backing of parents.
Lisa Edmundson, of Churchill Road, Edgware, has approached the Department of Education about founding her own school on the same basis as an academy, meaning it would enjoy freedom from the local authority in managing its budget and staff, and designing its curriculum and timetable.
The 42-year-old mother-of-two said: "The proposal is to have a free school for probably up to about 600 children. It will be run like an independent school and be open to everybody."
She believes it will give more choice to parents, make them part of the decision-making process, and the school will be free from local authority control.
Ms Edmundson said: "I have been teaching children to pass entrance exams for more than 15 years and met hundreds of parents who suffer anxiety over which school their child makes it into.
"My eldest son is seven and will be coming up to secondary school in a few years' time and we were thinking about moving because where we live there's no other good schools."
If established, the free school would be the 11th publicly funded secondary school in the borough.
Ms Edmundson, who taught English and business studies at Stanmore College before leaving earlier this year to work in Hertfordshire, said the school would have smaller class sizes to try to help improve pupils' learning.
"I'm a tutor and secondary school teacher and I'm very aware of why pupils may not learn as well as they should - too big class sizes and a level of behaviour that distracts from learning," she said.
"The syllabus will be very close to the national curriculum and, depending on what parents want, we can add other subjects."
The New Schools Network is going to contact Harrow and Barnet councils to compile for Ms Edmundson a list of council-held land that has the correct planning designation to build a school.
Ms Edmundson said she is looking in Harrow on the Hill, Stanmore, Edgware or Kingsbury.
She added: "What I need is evidence that a school is needed in the area and that parents are interested in seeing a new school."
But Heather Clements, Harrow Council's director of schools and children's development, said the council is 'not aware' of a demand for extra places.
"Several of our high schools still have places for September, currently 240 for year seven and 119 for year eight, though some of these places may be taken up by late admissions," she said. "All schools in Harrow have been rated 'good' by Ofsted [Office for Standards in Education] and more than half are 'outstanding'.
"The council is not aware of any parental demand for an additional school and is not aware of any land or property in Harrow that would be suitable for such a venture."
* Interested parents can contact Ms Edmundson by emailing email@example.com.