Clare: First free school head appointed

A FREE school due to open next year in Suffolk has appointed its first headteacher.

Christine Inchley, head of Manningtree High School, has been recruited to run the Stour Valley Community School, in Clare.

Although the school does not officially open until September 2011, Mrs Inchley has already started work on staff recruitment and school strategy which she will combine with her existing commitments at Manningtree.

Keith Haisman, chairman of the Stour Valley Educational Trust, said: “We were thrilled to have such a strong field of candidates to choose from and very pleased that Chris has accepted this exciting role in the vanguard of education provision. Our school is unique, with a particular set of community needs and aspirations, and Chris fits our requirements precisely.”

The Stour Valley Community School will cater for children aged 11-16 and will be on the same site as the current Clare Middle School, which is being closed by Suffolk County Council in July. Run by the Stour Valley Educational Trust, within the state education system, it is one of 25 schools across the country undergoing the approval process by the Department for Education.

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As one of the Conservative Party’s central education policies, the school is expected to receive final approval in the near future.

Mrs Inchley said: “I have worked in this area in the past and know how much latent potential there is to be unlocked by this incredible new school, as I was reminded by the delightful and very insightful Clare Middle School pupils who interrogated me last week. I can’t wait to meet more of the children and families.”

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Mrs Inchley will become full-time head in April ahead of the opening in September.

Free schools are being introduced in a bid to enhance parental choice and to drive up standards. They are directly funded by the Government and removed from local authority control, with the freedom to set their own curriculum and holidays.

The school’s admissions will come from primary schools along the Essex/Suffolk border. For more information go to

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