Free school plan for Rutland is backed by 650 parents

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A school principal says he has been overwhelmed by the amount of interest shown in his plans to open a new free school in Rutland.

Catmose College principal Stuart Williams is delighted that more than 650 parents have said they would choose Harington School as their first choice sixthform provision for their children if plans are given the go-ahead.

Catmose College and Uppingham Community College are in talks over launching the free school, which would be for students throughout the county and offer A-levels and enrichment activities, such as the Duke of Edinburgh awards scheme.

The colleges believe a new sixthform provision is needed because there is only one state-run post-16 college in the county, Rutland County College, and pupils have to travel long distances for an alternative option.

A prospectus has been launched for Harington School and hundreds of parents and pupils have been expressing their support for the plans via its new website,

The colleges now hope to submit a bid for the new facility to the Department of Education on January 10.

Mr Williams said: “The support registered underlines what we have been saying that there is a demand.

“It’s still early days but it’s quite significant that we’ve had so much positive feedback in such a short space of time.”

If the bid is successful, funding will come directly from the Department of Education. The decision on the location of the school is also made by Government.

The school will be run separately from the two colleges and have its own board of governors, policies and headteacher.

If the plans are given the green light, Stuart Williams says he hopes the provision will be in place for students starting their A-levels in September 2015.

Rutland County College principal Vicky Crosher and headteacher Carl Smith believe there is no need for the free school as their facility can meet the demand in numbers of students looking to study at A-levels in Rutland.