Ixworth: Free school approved to replace Ixworth Middle School

Future of Ixworth Middle School decided.

Future of Ixworth Middle School decided.

An MP has spoken of his delight after it was revealed plans for a free school to replace a village middle school have been approved.

The Department for Education has given the green light to a parent group working with the Seckford Foundation to assume control of Ixworth Middle School, which is due to close as part of the county’s move to a two-tier education system.

A rival bid from the Church of England – a major educational provider in Suffolk with 91 church schools throughout the county – was lodged in December 2012.

But the green light has been given to the Seckford Foundation, which has already opened free schools at Saxmundham and Beccles under the leadership of principal Rob Cawley.

Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, said: “It is fantastic to hear that the Department for Education has approved the bid in Ixworth.

“I have always pushed to replace the closing middle school in the village and as well as campaigning for a replacement locally I have raised the issue with the education secretary Michael Gove.

“My focus has always been on ensuring that the best possible education is available for children without having to travel long distances.

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“The new school will ensure this is available for local families and I can’t wait to see it up and running.

“Rob Cawley will have my full support as he puts in the hard work getting the site ready to open its doors to students.”

A total of 79 free schools have opened in England so far, including four in Suffolk. They receive funding direct from the Government rather than from the county council.