Pre-approval given for Hitchin Free School

Parents want to build a free school in the town

Parents want to build a free school in the town - Credit: Archant

PARENTS looking to build a new school to meet a heavy demand in primary places are just one step away from seeing their vision become reality.

The group, who want to build a Hitchin free school, have made it through several stages of a lengthy-process, and now just face an interview with the Department for Education in a month’s time.

If successful, it will open in September 2014 in north Hitchin.

It comes as new data unveiled by Ofsted reveals there are schools in the town struggling compared to others, in English and maths.

Father-of-two Adam Nichols, who has opened a free school in Harpenden and is leading this latest proposal, said: “The dashboard clearly shows that some Hitchin schools are significantly under-performing. Our group believes the free school will succeed in raising standards and will provide Hitchin children with the quality of education that they deserve.”

He added: “Receiving confirmation from the DfE that the bid for Hitchin Free School has got through to interview stage was great news for all of us.

“We have campaigned since November to gain support and there are a huge amount of parents in the town who are committed to the establishment of a free school in Hitchin. We now have to put all our efforts into securing a positive outcome at the interview.”

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The group have said they will not reveal the site of the building until they have received final confirmation from the DfE, which would fund the school as opposed to the local authority.

But they have confirmed the school, which will follow the national curriculum, will be one form of entry, taking in reception and Year 3 pupils in its first year who will then move up through the year groups as pupils are admitted thereafter

Victoria Livingstone, a mum-of-two from Hitchin involved in the plans, said: “It [the school] is a different ethos and we’ve had a lot of interest in it.”

The group expect to learn by the end of April whether they are successful in their bid.

The county council has said it supports the principle of free schools.