The Government has turned down a bid to build a new secondary school in Stamford, instead inviting the trust behind it to work with Stamford Queen Eleanor School.
A statement from the Department for Education, published on the Stamford Free School website, said: “The Stamford Free School application received strong parental demand for a school which would deliver the vision offered by the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust. Having considered the local circumstances, we believe that the best value for money solution would be for the trust to seek to become the sponsor of Stamford Queen Eleanor, rather than establish a new school.”
Executive principal of the trust Mark Woods said: ““This was not the approach we had planned as it was not an option that was originally on the table, but we are delighted to have the opportunity to take forward our vision of education in Stamford, and thank everyone that supported our original application.
“The original proposer group have worked incredibly hard on this project, and we very pleased that they will support us in pursuing this alternative solution.
“Stamford Queen Eleanor has made significant progress in recent years and we believe our ethos will help drive this forward positively and rapidly. The Trust has a very clear vision for all its schools – to provide high-quality education for all at the heart of our communities.
“We look forward to working with all members of the Stamford community, the existing governors, and the proposer group to create the highly-successful, popular school that Stamford deserves and demands.”
Queen Eleanor is currently run by the CfBT schools trust. If the academy transfer is successful it will apply the same admissions code, and all pupils that are already attending the school will continue to do so.
Chairman of governors at Queen Eleanor Jonathan Selwyn said: “This is a new chapter for Stamford Queen Eleanor. We are excited about the opportunity of working with CMat and feel there is a good match between their vision and passion for education and the ambition of the governing body and staff.
“We are very proud of the achievement of our students and staff and we now look forward to building on that success through the proposed partnership with CMat. We also respect the work and commitment of the proposers of the free school and believe that now is the time to come together to deliver truly excellent and continually improving education for Stamford.”
Kevin Brooks, who helped set up the original free school proposer group, said: “This is great news and a pragmatic solution. If it goes through, Stamford gets the school that we campaigned for, but actually delivered more quickly than planned and using existing infrastructure.
“We recognise Queen Eleanor has made significant improvements that had already begun when we started our campaign so working together with CMat and Queen Eleanor to deliver an outstanding school for Stamford is potentially a big win for everyone.”