Suffolk: Next step for free school bid proposers

AN education trust bidding to open an innovative ecology school in east Suffolk are entering the new year hoping for Government approval.

The group behind the proposal – for a free school teaching a flexible curriculum through practical learning – are ready to progress to the next stage of the bidding process, following a series of open events for parents.

The Fullfledge Trust should know in the spring whether it can go ahead with plans to open the free school in September 2014, teaching youngsters aged four to 16, and practising an education system that gives equal attention to the physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural and spiritual needs of each pupil to promote a sustainable way of life.

The Fullfledge Ecology School curriculum would incorporate aspects of the Steiner approach, which is already practised at state-funded schools in other countries like America, Canada and Australia, but bidders say it would not be designated a “Steiner School”.

After making the Government’s short list of free schools that could be given the green light, Fullfledge Trust members headed to London last summer for an interview with the DfE, which ultimately determines whether or not the school gets funding. Officials recommended the group make changes to the secondary education provision and will now consider a re-submitted bid, to be made before the end of the week.

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The group, named after a Suffolk word for a fully-grown fledgling, hopes to open a school in the east Ipswich or south-east Suffolk area of the county, and has explored moving on to the site formerly occupied by Amberfield School in Nacton, near Ipswich, but is still investigating a suitable location.

Proposals for another free school by the Maharishi Free School Trust, for a site in Rendlesham, near Woodbridge, are also being re-submitted to the Government after being requested to make changes to the proposed curriculum.

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