Saxmundham: Free school bid continues to attract support

A GROUP hoping to run their own school in a Suffolk market town last night said they were disappointed with delays in the application process.

But the Fromus Valley Educational Trust also said they had put the extra time to good use, drumming up more support for their campaign.

The group want to open an 11-16 community high school on the site of Saxmundham Middle School in Seaman Avenue.

The building will close next year as Suffolk County Council pushes ahead with plans to move from a three to a two tier education system.

The trust submitted their own proposal for the site at the end of last year under the Government’s “free school” initiative - but it has now been told the application process has changed.

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Simon Eyre, a Fromus Valley director, said: “The Department for Education responded to our initial proposal by asking a couple of questions, particularly about the proposed curriculum and the extent of parental support in particular year groups.

“We were ready to re-submit the application when we received an e-mail explaining that schools planning to open in 2012 will need to submit their proposal in a slightly different format.

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“It’s particularly irritating the new format hasn’t yet been published and there’s no indication of when it might be.”

But the group has used the delay to positive effect - with more than 380 local parents now saying they want a free school in Saxmundham.

John Fisher, chairman of Fromus Valley Educational Trust, said they were delighted with the support.

He said proposals for new homes in the town demonstrated how important it was for the community to have a senior school, as well as somewhere that could act as a centre for after school clubs and adult learning.

The “free school” proposal is happening alongside a different project by the Saxmundham and District Community Interest Company (SADCIC), which wants to create a community enterprise centre on the middle school site.

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