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'We'll help teaching come alive' - church launches campaign for new free school
A church is launching a campaign to build a “lively” new free school which would help curb the dramatic increase of children without a place.
St John the Baptist, in Wood Street, Chipping Barnet, is asking parents to back plans for a new Church of England School.
Father Tristan Chapman and other volunteers from the congregation hope the new primary school will open in September 2016.
He said: “The church is the oldest educator, so it’s fitting we would start something like this. There is clearly a need for it.
“Our idea is to create a new school to help children grow into well-rounded people, with a vision of where they are going.
“We have had a good response so far, so we’re throwing ourselves out there to see if we can push forward with it. Parents need to tell us that.”
Both Christ Church Primary School, and St Mary’s in Monken Hadley, are heavily oversubscribed and it is believed the problem will only get worse.
Many others are physically unable to expand and the group believe over 200 children will be left without a school place over the next few years.
The new school, which does not yet have a name, would be built in Arkley or High Barnet.
Organisers need 500 signatures from parents to be able to send off their application to the Department of Education under the government’s free school’s project.
Former teacher Judy Burstow, of Fitzjohn Avenue, said: “Here, we hope that teaching and education will come alive.
“We’ll be an inclusive school – even though we’ll have links with this church, everyone will be welcome here.
“I think it would be a really great thing for the area.”
Earlier this year, the Marco Polo Academy was rejected by the Department for Education for 'not being inclusive enough'.
It was due to open to primary school pupils in September 2014, but the news means the 53 children who had been offered a place have been forced to reapply.
This year, 92 per cent of pupils recieved their first choice of school for September 2014.
Millbrook Park Primary School, in Mill Hill East, will open this September and Martin, Moss Hall, Brunswick Park, Menorah Foundation, Beis Yaakov and Oakleigh Schools will be expanded to create 1,500 new permanent places.
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