|Ealing Free School Gets Green Light|
Planned to open in September 2015 - location not yet secured
A new high school for South Ealing and Northfields has been given the go-ahead and it could open next year - but the location has still to be secured.
The news was welcomed by local families and politicians as 'great news' for the local community.
It comes amid a looming shortage of secondary school places across Ealing and other London boroughs.
The school plans to open in September 2015 and the steering group - comprised of local parents and teachers - is now working to secure a local site... thought to be the King Fahad Academy on Little Ealing Lane.
Dr Judith Mortell, an educational psychologist and leader of the Ealing Fields steering group, said: 'We're thrilled to have gained approval from the Department for Education, enabling us to open the secondary school that this community so desperately needs and deserves.
'We are working closely with the Education Funding Agency to secure a site and make our vision of a local school for the community a reality.
'Approval from the DfE is a testament to the fantastic efforts of the local community. It is their support and encouragement that has enabled us to come this far.
'We would also like to thank Northfield councillors David Millican and Mark Reen for their help and support.
'Ealing Fields Free School truly will be a community school, created by the community for the community'.
Councillor David Millican, Northfield councillor and Conservative Group Leader, said: 'This is wonderful news.
'The Ealing Fields Free School is the inspired brainchild of local parents, who want to provide high quality secondary education for the young people of South Ealing and Northfields.
'They've worked tirelessly and we are all working hard to secure the right site.'
Angie Bray, Conservative MP for Ealing Central and Acton, backed Ealing Fields Free School in a debate in the House of Commons in September.
She told Education Secretary Michael Gove that the school was needed amid a 'great pressure on school places in Ealing'.
She said today: 'This is terrific news for Ealing. I am delighted Ealing Fields has had the go ahead and I am excited by the opportunity I believe this school will offer young people in our community.
'We all know that Ealing is in great need of more school places, and this school will not only help in this regard, but will also add to the choice available for parents looking for the right secondary school to send their children to.'
The school plans to have a maximum of 840 pupils - 120 in each year group.
It aims to stretch pupils with high academic expectations, place an emphasis on parental involvement and provide a wide range of enrichment activities including sport, music, art and drama.
Ealing Council estimates that by 2016, the borough will need to accommodate an additional 585 secondary places, 196 of which will be in Ealing and Hanwell alone.
By 2019 the secondary figures will rocket to 1,142 borough wide, with the largest shortfall of 401 in just Ealing and Hanwell.