Autumn decision on sponsor for Lakenheath Free School

A new school is being set up in Lakenheath. File picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK PHOTO

A new school is being set up in Lakenheath. File picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCK PHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A decision on who will run a new 210-place primary school earmarked for Lakenheath is set to be made this autumn.

Suffolk County Council launched an invitation for bids from potential sponsors of a new £5million free primary school, with the bid process having finished on Friday.

Bids will now be analysed over the coming months, with the county council confirming that a final decision is set for autumn this year ahead of a planned opening of the school in September 2019.

A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman said: “This is a much-needed school due to the number of applications for new housing developments in the area.

“Assessment of the sponsors’ bids will be based on criteria set by the Department for Education.

“This includes the trust’s vision for the new school, inclusivity, curriculum and pupil performance measures.

“The trust’s capacity, capability and experience will also be considered.

“Following an initial assessment process interviews will be held with a panel of officers, local councillors and representatives from the Regional Schools Commissioner’s (RSC) office.

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“A recommendation will then be made to cabinet who will recommend the council’s preferred sponsor to the RSC.

“The RSC will then make the final decision on behalf of the Secretary of State.

“The final decision is likely to be confirmed in Autumn 2018.”

More than 660 new homes are expected to be built in the village over the next few years, giving an estimated 170 pupils from new homes alone.

The plans for the school, which is likely to be built in Station Road, will enable it to expand to 420 places and a 30-place pre-school over the coming years to keep up with demand.

Initial costs for the school will be met by the council, but funding from developers of future housing will also be put towards future expansions.

The council previously said that the successful sponsor will have to ensure the school plays a “key role within its immediate community and wider local economy”, and will be expected to provide access for community groups.

Planning documents for the proposed new school say that the existing one nearby is full and its location means expansion is not a viable option.

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