First of new free schools opens its doors

First of new free schools opens its doors

First of new free schools opens its doors

First published in News Banbury Cake: Photograph of the Author by

A NEW era of education is starting as Oxfordshire’s first free school today prepares to open its doors.

The Europa School UK in Culham will welcome 164 children aged between four and six tomorrow.

It will offer a state-funded, multi- lingual education to the children, and is set to be the first of a string of free schools in the county.

Tyndale Community School, in East Oxford, and Heyford Park Free School, in Upper Heyford, are both expected to open next September.

Other proposed free schools yet to be approved by the Government include the Oxford New School, a secondary which would offer the Scottish curriculum, and the Harwell Enterprise Academy, focusing on science and engineering.
Europa School principal Peter Ashbourne said the free school programme offered freedoms over curriculum, staff pay and conditions, budgets and the make-up of the school day along with state funding.
He said: “There was an attempt to do it under the Academies scheme but it really hit too many obstacles.
“This has really allowed us to flourish.”
Children at the school, which will eventually replace the European School with which it shares a site, are being accepted into Reception, Year One and Year Two classes, with two classes of 28 in each year.
Only four places in the Year Two German stream were unfilled with all other classes full.
Pupils will spend half the week learning their subjects in English and half in French or German and will learn numeracy, literacy, cover science, geography, history, personal relations, health, music and art.
They will sit normal Key Stage One and Two assessments but rather than GCSEs and A-Levels the school will offer the European Baccalaureate.
Nine teachers from different countries have been employed, along with Mr Ashbourne and head of primary education Pascal Marechau, and eight teaching assistants.
The school day runs from 8.25am to 3.35am, and an after-school club is being set up by parents which is due to be up and running by the second week of term.
Mr Ashbourne said: “We recognise some children will not speak a word of one of the languages to begin with but we will persist.
“We know the value of immersion and that will be the aim right from the start.”
The Heyford Park Free School is looking to appoint a principal by September 2013, who would be in post by January 2013, and has produced an admissions policy in association with Oxfordshire County Council.
A location has yet to be set for the Tyndale Community School but the school, run by Chapel Street Community Schools Trust in partnership with Oxford Community Church, will take 60 new primary pupils from Blackbird Leys, Cowley and East Oxford each year.
Parents said the school’s bi-lingual ethos would be a major boost for their children. Sandford-on-Thames resident Iris Burke, who moved to the UK from Germany 18 years ago, said she and her English husband Gareth welcomed the focus on other nations for twins Caitlin and Natasha, five.
She added: “Being taught a second language from an early age, they will find it much easier to become fluent.”
Harwell resident Geraldine Seabrook, originally from Burgundy in France, is to send daughter Amelie, four, to the school.
Mrs Seabrook, whose husband Clive is English, said: “We are a multicultural family and we wanted to raise Amelie that way.
“It is a gift to the children to go to a school like that.”
Drayton resident Benedicte Yue’s daughters Lily-Rose, and India, both have places at the school.
Her two older children attend the European School.
Mrs Yue is French, and her husband, Lindsay, is from Mauritius. She said: “We are very excited.
“It’s going to be very multicultural and enable us to continue the ethos of the European School and also be more open to English families as well. There will be more integration with the local community which is great.”

Related links

Education secretary's flagship policy

Free Schools are, like Academies, free from local authority control.
That means they have greater control over the curriculum, their budgets and the make up of the school day. They are funded by the tax payer, non-selective and don’t charge fees.
Academies tend to be existing schools that are then “converted”, where as the Free Schools idea is aimed at creating new ones.
Free Schools can be set up by a number of interested parties, including parents, charities, teachers and businesses.

Comments (3)

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12:16pm Mon 3 Sep 12

adlibber says...

I hope every single 'free' school fails - this is nothing but a govt scam to divide social classes. Taxcpayer funding schools with 200 kids at the expense of State schools with 1000 pupils is a disgrace. Kids are being taught in portkabins as Gove's toys with elitist snobbery whilst ruining education for millions.

Gove has already lost £2.3 million on Free Schools that have closed and school playing fields are being sold off despite the feint praise from govt re Olympics&Paralympics
. This govt is intent of leaving kids from deprived areas in the gutter.
I hope every single 'free' school fails - this is nothing but a govt scam to divide social classes. Taxcpayer funding schools with 200 kids at the expense of State schools with 1000 pupils is a disgrace. Kids are being taught in portkabins as Gove's toys with elitist snobbery whilst ruining education for millions. Gove has already lost £2.3 million on Free Schools that have closed and school playing fields are being sold off despite the feint praise from govt re Olympics&Paralympics . This govt is intent of leaving kids from deprived areas in the gutter. adlibber
  • Score: 0

8:04pm Mon 3 Sep 12

EylanEzekiel says...

Wow adlibber.
I get that you are against the policy.
I get that you are against Mr Gove.
I even get that there are lots of contradictions in the implementation of education policy - and share you concerns about playing fields and fair access to excellent education.

What I DON'T get it why you'd wish failure on a school that is opening this week? With real kids in it?

Surely your perfectly reasonable objections to the policy should be focussed on moving the need for new schools in Oxfordshire (of which there is no doubt) towards the values you care about - and away from harming the lives of kids and families that have selected (via the LA system) to send their kids to these school.

If you want to support a free school that is about progressing in partnership with local schools - then check out our proposal for ONSchool - www.onschool.org.uk
Wow adlibber. I get that you are against the policy. I get that you are against Mr Gove. I even get that there are lots of contradictions in the implementation of education policy - and share you concerns about playing fields and fair access to excellent education. What I DON'T get it why you'd wish failure on a school that is opening this week? With real kids in it? Surely your perfectly reasonable objections to the policy should be focussed on moving the need for new schools in Oxfordshire (of which there is no doubt) towards the values you care about - and away from harming the lives of kids and families that have selected (via the LA system) to send their kids to these school. If you want to support a free school that is about progressing in partnership with local schools - then check out our proposal for ONSchool - www.onschool.org.uk EylanEzekiel
  • Score: 1

7:43pm Mon 10 Sep 12

Oxfordshire says...

Eylan, I can tell you why I am against the free school POLICY.

For many years, the European school have been running outside the UK education system, which left children like ours in no man's land, Mr Gove personally said he had no control with regards to the children's safety or the staff's behavior in the school.

So please explain to me, when the education department were aware of the serious problem that forced us and others like us to remove our children overnight from what was described as 'environment of hostility and cruelty' why would the very same people, hand UK tax payer's money on a no string attached policy?

Free schools are created by group of people, hopefully they'll always agree on everything, however, what happen to the child when he/she doesn't join the 'group dynamics' as ES head teacher describe it? when my child refused to kill himself as instructed by your staff's child? how far do you go to protect your staff at my family's expense?

What about after we were forced to remove our son, even though his 8 years records were always top, the staff decide to add fabricated information into his file, send out untrue allegations to other schools, what do you do about that? how do you protect a child?

Child's education is NOT a temporary measure with the latest government initiative, it should stay above parents and staff's control, when things happen, as in our case, the authorities have to be accountable and responsible, they have to resolve the situation, not leave it to the same group of people to find a way out of it.
Eylan, I can tell you why I am against the free school POLICY. For many years, the European school have been running outside the UK education system, which left children like ours in no man's land, Mr Gove personally said he had no control with regards to the children's safety or the staff's behavior in the school. So please explain to me, when the education department were aware of the serious problem that forced us and others like us to remove our children overnight from what was described as 'environment of hostility and cruelty' why would the very same people, hand UK tax payer's money on a no string attached policy? Free schools are created by group of people, hopefully they'll always agree on everything, however, what happen to the child when he/she doesn't join the 'group dynamics' as ES head teacher describe it? when my child refused to kill himself as instructed by your staff's child? how far do you go to protect your staff at my family's expense? What about after we were forced to remove our son, even though his 8 years records were always top, the staff decide to add fabricated information into his file, send out untrue allegations to other schools, what do you do about that? how do you protect a child? Child's education is NOT a temporary measure with the latest government initiative, it should stay above parents and staff's control, when things happen, as in our case, the authorities have to be accountable and responsible, they have to resolve the situation, not leave it to the same group of people to find a way out of it. Oxfordshire
  • Score: 0

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