BOSSES at an award-winning nursery in Northumberland are hoping to open one of the country’s first free schools.
A new primary school is being planned for Cramlington under new legislation put forward by Education Secretary Michael Gove.
If given the go-ahead, Cramlington Village Learning School would operate as a free school, funded directly from central Government rather than through the local authority.
The school, which hopes to open next September, will have increased control over its curriculum, teachers’ pay and opening hours.
A business case for the school, which would educate children up to the age of 11, has been submitted to the Department for Education by Deborah Wylie, owner of the Little Angels Nursery in Cramlington, and teacher Lisa Brown.
Little Angels has been awarded the outstanding grade by Ofsted three times and was last year named the National Day Nurseries Association Nursery of the Year Award.
Mrs Wylie said: “Our proposal to set up a free school – Cramlington Village Primary School – has been very warmly received, not just by parents within the nursery, but by many other families within the town community too.
“We look forward with anticipation to hearing from the Department for Education in September if our application has been successful.”
Lisa Brown is an early years teacher with management experience, while Mrs Wyle is a registered contracted school inspector. If their bid is successful, details will be made public in September.
The school’s website says its vision is to create “a beacon of excellence, extending our nursery’s outstanding reputation into the primary phase, offering a rich and vibrant curriculum, developing skills for life in an inspirational learning environment, and optimising resources to achieve best value”.
It is hoped the new school will be located with the nursery in the centre of Cramlington.
Cramlington Village primary would aim to offer a “personalised holistic curriculum”, including swimming lessons for every year group and school meals for all children, with sociable mealtimes based on learning and developing. Term times and school hours would be arranged to suit children’s learning patterns.
The first of the Government’s flagship free schools will open this September.
Free schools are independent, state-funded schools set up by parents, charities, universities, businesses, educational groups or teachers.
They will operate outside of local authority control and early indications have shown less than a fifth of the free schools announced are opening in the north of England.
Other free schools are expected to open in Pennywell, in Sunderland, and Ingleby Barwick, in Stockton-on-Tees. A group in Bowburn, in County Durham, also has plans under way to set up a school.
Nationally, some 281 groups applied to set up free schools in the latest round of applications.
These follow 323 proposals in the first round of applications, of which 32 are being progressed by officials.