Bury St Edmunds will get a new science and engineering free school in 2017

A new free school will be established in Bury St Edmunds

A new free school will be established in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: PA

A new free school will open in Bury St Edmunds, specialising in science and engineering, in 2017.

The Bury St Edmunds Technical Academy will be led by the Bury St Edmunds All-Through Trust, the Government has announced. The school is one of four new free schools which will open in the East in 2017.

Last night Vicky Neale, headteacher of Bury’s County Upper School, part of the All-Through Trust, confirmed the trust had submitted plans to the Department for Education for a “technical-STEM [science, technology, engineering and maths]” school. In its announcement, the Government said: “The new school will focus on science and engineering and pupils can look forward to work placements and work based projects through the trust’s partnerships with a range of local employers.”

Staff at the Trust’s others schools – Horringer Court, Howard Middle, Westley, Barrow and Tollgate school – are set to be told today of the news.

No details of where the school will be based have yet been announced.

Free schools, which are not-for-profit, independent, state-funded schools, are controversial – with critics arguing too many open in areas where there is little proven need for extra school places. There have also been questions about the quality of their governance.

Graham White, secretary of Suffolk’s NUT, said free schools, which are independent from local authority control, were an “expensive mistake”.

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“Free schools are a waste of money and important resources,” he said. “They have diverted important resources away from LA and other state schools.

“The GCSE results of Suffolk’s free schools indicate they are failing pupils. The sooner we get rid or these expensive whims the better for all pupils and parents.”

However, the Government is committed to opening 500 new free schools by 2020. There are six free schools in Suffolk currently. Although not a free school, Bury will get another new school – a secondary academy in 2016, in the Moreton Hall area.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan said expanding free schools meant parents would never have to “settle for anything less” than the best for their child as they increased choice.

“Right across the country, these innovative, community-led schools are helping to fulfil our ‘One Nation’ commitment to educational excellence for every child.

“We know that free schools don’t just give parents greater choice, they also force existing schools to up their game. Today’s news sends a clear message that we are committed to extending this unprecedented level of choice to more parents than ever before.”

Today, a total of 18 new free schools across the county have been announced.

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