Parents ‘supportive’ of free school plans

MORE than 100 people turned out in force to learn more about a pioneering scheme to allow parents and members of the community to run their own school.

The Fromus Valley Educational Trust recently held a meeting to discuss its plans for a community high school for 11 to 16-year-olds in Saxmundham.

The group said it was “overwhelmed” with the positive response – which saw more than 140 people flock to the town’s Market Hall.

The meeting, which was held on Monday night, was attended by parents from Saxmundham and surrounding villages, teachers, school governors, town councillors and local business people.

Cheleigh Trotter-Langlois, one of the founders of the Fromus Valley Educational Trust and a member of Saxmundham Town Council, said: “I’m delighted. The meeting was a massive success and it was wonderful to see such a wide range of people from our community showing their support for this idea.”

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Suffolk County Council is closing Saxmundham Middle School in 2012 as part of its move from a three to a two-tier education system – leaving the town with no post-11 learning.

As a result, Fromus Valley Educational Trust is hoping to take advantage of the Government’s “free school” initiative and establish a new school on the Seaman Avenue site.

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Simon Eyre, director of the trust, continued: “It was heartening to be involved in such an eloquent and informed debate about an issue and to see a community rally together for a common cause.

“It makes you realise what a fantastic place this is to live in and that we’re doing the right thing by trying to defend the hubs of this community – our schools.”

Fromus Valley Educational Trust aims to submit a formal application to the Department for Education by the end of November.

If accepted the group will move on to preparing a detailed business case for the school.

Belinda Moore, another founder of Fromus Valley Educational Trust, said: “We have been extremely encouraged by the support shown by the community.

“This, and the many offers of help that we have received, will be the thing that ensures our application is successful.”

The trust has also formed a group on social networking website Facebook called New School For Saxmundham.

More than 100 supporters have already signed up to the page, which is being used as a forum for parents wishing to discuss the plans.

Suffolk County Council believes the move to the two-tier system will benefit youngsters and improve the quality of education on offer.

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