Town’s hope for ‘free’ school dashed


- Credit: Archant

A WAVE of disappointment has hit parents hoping to create a new school in Portishead.

After a nail-biting wait, members of the Village Quarter School Trust have been told by Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, that their application for funding to open a free school at Port Marine has been declined.

The trust’s application was successful in the first stages of the selection process and was short-listed, with trustees attending a second interview, leaving supporters hopeful.

Those hopes have now been dashed, but only for a September 2014 opening. Another application could be submitted for a free school to open in 2015.

Laura Haseldine, speaking on behalf of the trust, said: “We were extremely disappointed to discover our application to open the Village Quarter School has been declined by the Department for Education.

“We are now considering our future options for the education of Portishead children and would like to thank the local parents and residents who have supported our application.”

A letter sent to the trustees on behalf of Mr Gove said their application had been strong in ‘staffing structure, financial plans and reaching the wider community with marketing plans’. However it fell down on its ‘vision and education plan, understanding the roles and responsibilities of trust members and there was too much dependence on the capacity of two members of the group’.

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The group is now considering its options and is keen to hear the views of residents.

A public meeting will be arranged in the near future but, in the meantime, to find out more or comment, visit the Village Quarter Parent Group page on Facebook.