The Department for Education has today announced that a new primary school can open in the west of Northampton in 2018.
Harlestone Road Primary Academy, which is being set up by Northampton Primary Academy Trust (NPAT), has been given the green light to open in September 2018 in Duston, in order to meet the rising demand for primary school places in the town.
Free schools are state-funded schools that are independent of local authority control. They have the freedom to decide the length of school day and term, their curriculum, teacher pay and how they spend their budgets.
Julia Kedwards, CEO of NPAT said: "NPAT prides itself on leading successful, innovative, self-improving schools and has spent its formative years developing a strong vision and ethos, ensuring that all of our schools are ‘great’ schools and judged to be at least good by Ofsted.
"Four of our seven schools have already expanded to accommodate additional children as a result of increased need for school places in the town, and we are extremely excited to be working with the county council to further address this need through the opening of Harlestone Road Primary Academy.
"We look forward to developing a positive working relationship with the local community and other schools in the area moving forward, and to providing the Duston community with another fabulous school for their children."
Today’s announcement means there are 430 free schools currently open and 373 approved to open, which will create an additional 400,000 national places when full.
The school will be governed by a local governing body under the direction of the NPAT board of directors and will be a school that is welcoming to pupils of all faiths.
Toby Young, director of New Schools Network, said: “The application process to set up a free school is extremely rigorous so it is a testament to Northampton Primary Academy Trust’s hard work that they have been approved to open. This is the largest ever cohort of free schools to be approved, a sign of this Government’s commitment to extending the benefits of the free schools' policy to all parts of the country.
“This is a big day for free schools. With 800 either opened or approved to open, providing 400,000 places when full, free schools are now a permanent part of England’s educational landscape.”
Interested parents can find out more about Northampton Primary Academy Trust at www.npatschools.org.