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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Funding secured for Barrow private school to become free

FUNDING which guarantees a private school in Barrow can scrap its fees and become free to attend has been secured.

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FULL STEAM AHEAD Chetwynde headteacher Russell Collier HARRY ATKINSON REF: 50048484B005

The government confirmed that Chetwynde School had been awarded the day-to-day funding that allows it to become a free school from September.

Headteacher Russell Collier said that while the funding was essentially not in doubt following an agreement with the Department for Education last May, it was fantastic to get it sealed.

He said: “It is now 100 per cent certain. There are no legal obstacles or anything which is going to stop the school converting to a free school in September, so it’s full steam ahead.”

The funding guarantee means parents who had applied for their children to join the school and been given two offers by the local authority can now confirm their interest to join Chetwynde.

Around 430 pupils will be at the school from September, building towards the new capacity of 508. The school historically has had more than 500 pupils. But the number fell over the past eight years, dropping to as low as 200, which prompted the school to look at the feasibility of free school status.

Now, the primary school is full, years seven and nine are full and there are only a handful of places left for years eight, 10 and lower sixth form. There will be more than 160 infants, up to 54 in each senior year group and a small academic sixth form of around 70 children.

Around six new members of staff are starting in September, in addition to around 10 new starts who joined ahead of September 2013. As part of the conversion to a free school, a new building to house three design and technology classrooms and three ICT suites will be open by Easter next year.

Mr Collier said: “We have always said from the beginning of this journey that we wanted to offer another option for parents in terms of where they want their children to be educated.

“This has been achieved through a fantastic amount of effort by the staff, governing body, and all the supporters of the school and we are now moving into a new, very exciting chapter in the history of the school.”

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