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A new school proposed for South Ealing intends to model itself on one once attended by Prince Charles.

The Ealing Fields Free School (EFFS) aims to open in September 2015 and is backed by international education expert, Professor Guy Claxton, who originated the Building Learning Power (BLP) programme.

The programme - used in around 1,000 schools throughout the UK (including Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, and fee-paying, Gordonstoun in Moray, Scotland - where Prince Charles was once a student) is designed to encourage students to think for themselves and not simply be coached to pass exams.

Gordonstoun has seen its results rise from 38 per cent of pupils achieving A* to B at A-level in 2007 to 60 per cent A* to B last year through changing its strategy and focussing on 'key learning skills' rather than just 'knowledge acquisition'.

EFFS would use the same programme.

Professor Claxton, is co-director of the Centre for Real-World Learning (CrL) and professor of the learning sciences at Winchester University, told a meeting of around 100 that it was a 'powerful and amazing opportunity' for a school to start using the programme from scratch.

He said: 'Kids who are helped to become more resilient, more resourceful, more independent and more imaginative do better in tests and are better prepared for the big wide world.''

Dr Judith Mortell, leader of the Ealing Fields Free School steering group, said:

''Having Professor Claxton at our public meeting gave parents an opportunity to see how Ealing Fields will put learning at the heart of all that we do.

‘Education has so much more to offer young people than just a set of outstanding exam results.''

Parents at the meeting last night said they backed the new school and were excited about the curriculum developments.

Alex Johnson, 44, an actress, from Ealing, who has an eight-year-old daughter, Olivia, and four-year-old son, Willem, said: ‘I think this is so positive.

'Another secondary school in the area is a win win situation. It means there are more choices for all our parents. There are no negatives here, it’s all thumbs up. To have another school offering such an outstanding education is marvellous.'

Tara Rapaccioli, from Ealing, who has a six-year-old son, Rocco, and four-year-old son, Milo, added: 'I really want the school to go forward.

'I'm excited for my children to have this chance to go to a school where there's an inspirational vision for the future.'


The EFFS group is planning to submit its application to the Department for Education this September.



4th July 2013









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