A new free school for more than 2,000 pupils on a former Royal Mail sorting office in Northampton has been given approval by the Government.
The Northampton International Academy, which will have 2,200 pupils aged from three to 19, was among a number of free schools across the country receiving approval today.
We have been working closely with Northamptonshire County Council and the Department for Education about this exciting proposalEMLC Academy Trust chief executive, Jan Marshall
The school is being created by the EMLC Academy Trust, which is based in Olney and was set up in July 2012. It already runs three schools in the town, including Castle Primary. The Barrack Road site has been bought by the Education Funding Agency.
At the official launch of the plans in June last year, a spokesperson said the trust’s proposal could be summarised in three words - “Transforming Life Chances”.
EMLC put forward a 10-point proposal, which included a focus on quality teaching staff, vocational and specialist subjects, language learning and strong partnerships with parents, local businesses and the community.
EMLC Academy Trust chief executive, Jan Marshall, said last year: “We have been working closely with Northamptonshire County Council and the Department for Education about this exciting proposal to combine Castle Academy with this new academy proposal, for the benefit of pupils from all ages to be educated on one site.
“The local authority has been aware for some time that there is a need for a new secondary school in the town and to offer new all-through provision, with a strong focus on academic subjects, is something we know parents will be very excited by.”
The new development on the Barrack Road site itself will see 1500 new secondary places opened for local pupils, with 420 primary places and 250 Post 16 places.
The Government announced 49 new free schools for the country. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan hailed the policy for giving thousands of children the choice of attending an excellent local school “and the best possible education that prepares them for life in modern Britain”. In total more than 400 free schools have been approved since 2010, creating more than 230,000 school places across the country.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Delivering the best schools and skills for young people is a crucial part of our long term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain. Free schools set up by teachers, parents and community groups are not only outperforming other schools, but they are raising the performance of those around them, meaning more opportunities for children to learn the skills they need to get on in life.
“These new schools are an important part of our plan to improve education by raising standards and restoring discipline so our children can compete with the world’s best and enjoy a better future.”