A free school planned for the South Wight has today been given the green light by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.
Today’s announcement means the Isle of Wight will see two free secondary schools open in 2014, as plans have already been approved for The Studio School in East Cowes. Plans are also afoot for a free primary school on the Island by 2015.
Once open, the free school, which will have an emphasis on musical talent, will cater for up to 625 pupils between the ages of 11 and 16.
Andrew Turner, the Island’s MP, has this morning welcomed the news that the new Free School has been approved.
Mr Turner said : “Firstly I want to offer my congratulations to the whole team on this achievement. I know they have put in a great deal of hard work to get this far – and they know there is a great deal more to come.
“This new school will offer something very different to Island families. It is planned to be much smaller than other secondary schools on the Island and it will have a longer school day. On the other hand (although they have yet to find a building), it is unlikely to have all the facilities that a larger school will have. But the most important thing is that parents and their children should to be able to choose a school that is right for them. Free Schools can only be opened where parents want them – and part of the selection process is demonstrating to the Department for Education that the new school will have that parental support. This announcement proves that the team have built credibility with local families as well as with education specialists in the Department for Education. It is really exciting news.
“I hope this will also inspire other people who have alternative visions for schools on the Island to look into opening their own Free School. I will be glad to put anybody who wants to consider opening a new school in touch with the considerable help and support available to them.”