Free school bid makes it to the next stage


- Credit: Archant

PORTISHEAD schoolchildren could be pioneers for a free school in the town in September 2014.

Parents are celebrating after their application for funding from the Department of Education (DoE) to create a Portishead free school was shortlisted and progressed to the next stage.

A dire shortage of primary school places in the town led to a group of parents campaigning for a free school which would be funded by central Government and run independently of the local education authority.

Members of the Village Quarter School Trust will have the chance to push for their plans to become a reality at a meeting with the DoE on March 13.

Trust member Laura Haseldine said: “This is great news and a positive step forward. It will really help our application if we can show that we have the continued support of the community and parents who want their children to attend the school, so we urge all supporters to message us on our Village Quarter Parent Group Facebook page.”

In January, the group submitted a 120-page report detailing its plans for a school which pledges to push boundaries and deliver world-class education to children from age four to 11.

The proposals include introducing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) from the early years foundation stage and teaching a second language from year one.

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If funding is agreed, the school will open four classes in 2014 and increase pupil numbers over six years, expecting to reach full capacity in 2020.

The trust will receive a final decision on whether its application has been successful in May.

Meanwhile, consultation on the expansion of St Peter’s Primary School in Portishead is in progress and closes on March 11.

More than 100 questionnaires have already been received by North Somerset Council, but there is still time for members of the community to have their say.

The consultation document can be found on the North Somerset Council Econsult website at