VOTE: Parents win fight for free school in Chichester

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An elated group of parents campaigning for the development of Chichester Free School are celebrating after gaining government approval.

Helen Humphry, who has co-ordinated the plans, felt delighted the Department for Education has rubber-stamped its proposals.

More than 900 parents registered in support of Chichester Free School, with a race now on to find a suitable site within the area.

The decision comes as its initial proposals last year were rejected, despite strong political backing. “This is amazing news, it’s not quite sunk in yet that we have actually done this. But it has been down to all the hard work of those who have helped with it,” said Mrs Humphry.

She added: “It’s such a positive thing for the area and we had so many people approach us and respond to our survey to find out how many people wanted the school.

“We will now be looking to the government’s Education Funding Agency to agency (EFA) to find a site, so it will be funded by government.

“We are hoping to open for September 2013, with a smaller intake including reception, year one, three and seven and eight before we open up the full age range of the school.”

The Chichester Free School will follow its own curriculum and be non-selective for its planned intake across the educational range of 4-19, is believed to be the first of its kind within the county catering for both primary and secondary pupuls. Parents from across Chichester, Midhurst and Bognor Regis will be able to apply to place their children there.

Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie backed the original proposals put forward last year.

He believed the new school would offer greater choice for parents.

Mr Tyrie said: “This is great news. There is enormous support for this project, and I know that the Free School team has worked very hard to put together a successful bid.

“A lot of good can come from it.”

- To find out more about Chichester Free School, visit www.chichesterfreeschool.org.uk