|Ealing Free School a Step Closer|
Application goes in this Friday
Supporters of a new free school in Ealing believe the Education Secretary has signalled his support.
The Ealing Fields Free School - which is being launched by local parents and teachers - was highlighted during questions in the House of Commons.
The free school's steering group will submit its application to the Department for Education this Friday. If approved, it will open in South Ealing in September 2015 – tackling a chronic shortage of places in the area.
Angie Bray, Conservative MP for Ealing Central and Acton, stressed the need for the new school.
Addressing Michael Gove in the Commons, she said: ‘My Right Honourable Friend’s aware I’m a huge fan of free schools.'They offer not only extra school places but they also massively increase choice.‘What he’ll also be aware, is the great pressure on school places in Ealing.
‘Just this week, an application’s going to his department for a new free school, Ealing Fields, which has the support of the parents of 1,200 pupils and counting.
‘Will he agree that application should be considered positively and favourable? We’re all keeping our fingers crossed.’
Mr Gove replied: ‘Of course we will look at this application as we look at all applications.
‘But every time the honourable lady has recommended that I meet a head teacher from Ealing, whether it’s Lubna Khan or Alice Hudson I have been overjoiced to meet them.
‘I’m delighted that outstanding head teachers working in our schools are being celebrated by her and also in the case of Alice Hudson, are given the opportunity to open free schools so more children can benefit.’
Mrs Khan is head teacher of Berrymede junior school, Ealing.
Ms Hudson is head of Twyford C of E High School in Acton and executive head of the new William Perkin C of E High School in Greenford.
This free school opened in September and is part of The Twyford Church of England Trust.
London Councils, which represents all local authorities in the capital, has asked the government for more than £1billion to build new schools.
Ealing Council estimates that by 2016, the borough will be short of 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.
The Ealing Fields Free School has already gained the backing of Ealing Council, Boris Johnson's free schools' department and the New Schools Network.