The New Local School for Twickenham Steering Group says their campaign for a new parent-driven inclusive secondary free school will continue. Their proposal wasn’t on the Department for Education’s list of 100 Free Schools approved for opening in 2013, but they plan to resubmit their bid in the next round.
“Our plan for an inspirational school, which strives for academic excellence and enables children from all backgrounds to make exceptional progress has caught local people’s imagination, and generated fantastic levels of support” said Sarah Dietz, a life-long North Teddington resident and parent of children at Stanley Primary School. “We know we have a very strong proposal, with the capability and capacity to deliver. The local conditions weren’t right for approval in this funding round, but we have every reason to believe that situation is temporary, and that we have a strong chance of success next time”.
Her steering group colleague, Beverley Sanders, who is also a Twickenham parent, praised the efforts of their core supporters who worked tirelessly to help promote the school and demonstrate high levels of local demand in such a short time. “As a community, we have the talent, skills, determination to make this dream a reality”, she said.
“The campaign was born out of a desire to provide additional high quality mixed secondary capacity for South-West Twickenham and surrounding areas” added Beverley.
“The area has traditionally been served by Orleans Park and Teddington School, but their catchments are shrinking rapidly as primary expansions work their way up to secondary level, and the loss of the Linked School admissions policy for 2013 is causing further uncertainty for parents.
There is currently a small amount of spare capacity at Twickenham Academy, but that will fill very quickly once its new building is completed, and our community wants the additional choice of an academically aspirational mixed school to balance what is available at Waldegrave for girls".
The group are working alongside Russell Education Trust (RET), who had their other two Free School proposals accepted for 2013, as well as opening the country’s largest Free School this September in Essex. RET are continuing to back the Twickenham campaign.
RET CEO, Karen Lynch said "We supported this parental group because of the very clear evidence of high demand and because of the quality of parental commitment and local understanding on the Steering Group. We’re disappointed that such a high quality application was not successful. We hope to get further guidance from the DfE next week; before extending our campaign through to the next round with a view to the school opening in September 2014.
Karen added, "Over the next few months we will continue to consult with the Local Education Authority, local parents and neighbouring school leaders to ensure that our bid has the full support of its community and will make a positive contribution to the local family of schools. Parents wishing to express an interest in applying for places at our school for September 2014 or beyond can do so via our website at www.newlocalschool4twickenham.org.uk.
— from a New Local school for Twickenham Steering Group Press Release – 13 July 2012