Stamford Free School would be ‘fantastic’ opportunity

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A new secondary school in Stamford would provide an outstanding education and raise standards at neighbouring schools.

That’s the view of the team applying for Government funding to build a free school in Stamford.

The original proposer group brought the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust on board to lead their bid, which is now ready to submit to the Department for Education.

The trust’s executive principal Mark Woods decided to back the project after seeing an opportunity to give Stamford parents extra choice within their town, rather than having to look further afield.

He said: “The compelling part was around it being a Stamford school. The town does not have the number of secondary school places that it does secondary children.

“People come to Stamford for culture, shopping and business. But when it comes to education it seems to send people away. We shouldn’t be eating off the edge of the table of Rutland or Bourne.

“Where are the places for Stamford children? There seems to be the view that we get what is left over.”

The trust runs several schools, including Nene Park Academy in Peterborough, which replaced Orton Longueville School.

The trust’s ideals run through all its schools. This includes a focus on core subjects, extra-curricular activities and travel, and houses based loosely around subjects.

Its schools also incorporate vertical learning, which involves tutor groups comprising children from each school year.

Mr Woods has been dreaming of setting up a school based on those values from scratch for some time.

He said: “We have been waiting to do this for years. We have spent hours in meetings discussing how we want to deliver these actions.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to create this school from the ground up. And we will be linking with Nene Park straight away to give extra opportunities.”

Initially the plans were met with some scepticism from parents and neighbouring schools.

But free school proposer group member Robbie O’Driscoll said: “Competition doesn’t rule out collaboration. As long as the competition is healthy you are only going to see improvement. Bourne is a fantastic example.”

The free school bid will be submitted by January 10. The group still wants people to show their support by signing up at