FOUR new Church of England free schools have been given the
go-ahead by the Government. They were included in a list of
approvals announced at the beginning of October by the Department
for Education (DfE). All have the backing of their local
authorities as well as diocesan sponsorship.
The Church's chief education officer, the Revd Nigel Genders,
said that, between them, the four schools would take more than 2000
children in areas with an urgent need for places. "Their
development is consistent with our mission to provide the best
possible education in areas that need it most," he said.
North Twyford comprehensive, Ealing, planned for 1000 pupils;
and Wynyard primary, Teeside, with 420 primary places, are due to
open in September next year. North Twyford will join two
over-subscribed secondaries: the long-established Twyford C of E
High School, and William Perkins Free School in the Twyford C of E
Academies Trust. Wynyard primary will serve an area of new housing
Two other primaries, St John's, Watford, and Harrow Bilingual
Primary School, north London, each providing 420 places, will open
in September 2016. St John's is a joint venture between St John's
parish, in central Watford, and St Albans diocese. The diocesan
director of education, Jon Reynolds, said that it would serve a
disadvantaged area that has a severe shortage of places.
The Harrow project is a partnership between a group of parents
committed to bilingual education, and the diocese of London, the
project-development consultant to the diocese, Penny Roberts,
The approvals bring the number of C of E-designated free schools
to about 20. The first, St Luke's, Hampstead, based in a converted
parish-church undercroft, last month welcomed its fourth intake.
Oversubscribed since it started, the school is rated "Good" by
OFSTED. Church inspectors rated its Christian ethos "outstanding",
Mrs Roberts said.