Letter: I feel we need a free school

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I wish I was as lucky as Janet Downs and lived in a town that had the choice of two great schools for my children.

How wonderful to sit in an ivory tower and dictate to people in other towns that they should accept what they have.

Queen Eleanor constantly produces lacklustre results, in spite of the promises of the head, and conversion to academy status, parents continue to choose to send their children elsewhere.

Seventy per cent of primary leavers this year will go to secondary schools outside of Stamford.

What faith can we have in a school whose head of governors was recently quoted in the Mercury as saying “if parents wanted a school specifically for higher ability pupils they would have to look elsewhere.” Where?

Bourne Grammar has stepped up to the mark and is offering places to Stamford children who pass the 11-plus.

This means that in a few years we could be seeing more than 250 children getting on buses and travelling to Bourne every day.

Lincolnshire County Council, despite the fact it offers the 11-plus, does not recognise this as the solution for the education of Stamford children, so parents have to find some £300 a term to pay the bus fares.

Bourne is expanding, they are building a new primary school, and many of the children will aspire to a place at the grammar school, which will surely reduce the amount of places open to the children of Stamford.

Stamford is the fifth largest town in Lincolnshire, yet only has one secondary school, capable of taking 500 to 550 children.

We have five primary schools, currently educating 1,300-plus children.

The town is growing – 400 new homes on the Stamford West development, 100 homes proposed for the redevelopment of the Daniels ground in Wothorpe Road. Further afield, we have 150 new homes in Ketton, and soon thousans of military families are moving to Kendrew Barracks, Cottesmore.

These factors will have a massive impact on local school places.

For too long the question of secondary education in Stamford has had a black cloud hanging over it.

The Sunday Times recent “best place to live” article recognised the fact and suggested Bourne, Oakham and Oundle as places to send your children.

Stamford Free School is a golden opportunity to change this and do something amazing for the town.

We can build a brand new school with a sixthform.

A school that will offer an outstanding education for children of all abilities, not just the gifted few.

The Government has put in place the means to build a new school.

A successful application would mean Stamford Free School could open to Year 7 pupils as soon as September, 2015, with an intake of 100 to 120 children.

All we have to do is tell them we want it.

Join the growing number of parents telling us they want to seize this opportunity for their children, visit the www.stamfordfreeschool.org.uk website and register your interest.

Jeremy Ball

Banks Crescent, Stamford