Cheshire Free School wins place on national programme with the New Schools Network

Cheshire Free School is one of 30 groups of teachers, parents and charities to have so far won a place on a national programme designed to provide tailored support for groups that want to set up new Free Schools.

Cheshire Free School is a group of experienced teachers who hope to establish a specialist STEM 16-19 free school in Chester, focusing on A levels in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths. We aim to recruit the best students from all backgrounds who are aspiring for entry to Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group universities. All students will be offered research opportunities and work experience to help them realise their ambitions.

Cheshire Free School will also offer an inspirational enrichment curriculum involving excellence in such areas as music, performing arts, theatre, and the history and philosophy of science. This bespoke environment will give our students the best possible chances of success in gaining places on competitive courses at leading universities.

Run by independent education charity, the New Schools Network (NSN), the Development Programme provides personalised support to Free Schools groups as they prepare to submit an application to the Department for Education (DfE) to open a Free School from 2015.

Natalie Evans, NSN’s Director said:

“New Schools Network has supported hundreds of dedicated groups who want to set up Free Schools, supporting them as they prepare their applications to the DfE. The Development Programme provides intensive, bespoke support to groups that show particular promise and who are targeting pupils who need new schools the most.

“Free Schools have now established themselves on the educational landscape, fast becoming firm favourites with parents across the country. Almost 300 Free Schools have now either opened or been approved to open. Once all of these schools are full they will provide 150,000 badly needed new school places.

Information from the Department for Education shows that on average last year, open Free Schools received three applications for every place. But the interest in setting up new schools continues to grow. Year on year, we have been very impressed by the calibre of the groups coming forward, all united in their commitment to create great new schools for local children.

“The Development Programme has been designed to help support each group in making their vision a reality, and I am delighted to be welcoming Cheshire Free School onto the programme. We look forward to working with them as they develop their plans in more detail and work with their local community to gather support for their proposed new school.”

The NSN Development Programme has been running for almost 3 years; So far more than 85% of applicants have been invited to interview with the DfE and 64% have been approved. The support to each group is tailored to their needs, but includes a dedicated NSN adviser, intensive educational, financial and operational advice, funding to support help them engage with their community and matchmaking to help them build their team. The total package of support is equivalent to around £10,000 per group.

We are holding a public meeting to explain the rationale and vision for the college, and answer questions, at Hoole Community Centre, Westminster Road, Hoole CH2 3AU at 7.30pm on Monday 7th April. We hope that many prospective students and their parents will attend.

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