World class college on cards for city

Sixth form centre of excellence planned for Chester

Principal designate of the proposed Cheshire Free School Annette France

Parents and students are invited to a public meeting to learn more about plans for a Chester-based science, maths and technology centre of excellence for sixth formers.

A group of experienced teachers are behind Cheshire Free School which is a vision is to establish a world-class STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) College for talented and ambitious 16- to 19-year-olds from 2016.

Based in Chester, it would serve the city, Ellesmere Port and surrounding parts of Cheshire West and Chester. A number of potential sites are being investigated at the moment.

Prospective students – particularly current Years 8 and 9 – and their parents are welcome to attend a meeting at Hoole Community Centre, Westminster Road, Hoole, at 7.30pm on Monday April 7.

The Free School, which is backed by city MP Stephen Mosley, would focus on A-levels in biology, chemistry, physics, maths and further maths.

Principal designate Annette France said: “We aim to recruit the best students from all backgrounds who are aspiring for entry to Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group universities. All students will be offered research opportunities and work experience to help them realise their ambitions.

“Cheshire Free School will also offer an inspirational enrichment curriculum involving excellence in such areas as music, performing arts, theatre, and the history and philosophy of science.

Ms France added: “This bespoke environment will give our students the best possible chances of success in gaining places on competitive courses at leading universities.”

Independent education charity, the New Schools Network (NSN), has admitted the school on to its development programme and is backing an application to the Department for Education (DfE) due to be lodged this September.

Other free schools in Chester include St Martin’s Academy in Hoole and the University Cathedral Free School in the city centre.

Natalie Evans, NSN’s director, said: “The development programme has been designed to help support each group in making their vision a reality, and I am delighted to be welcoming Cheshire Free School on to the programme.

“We look forward to working with them as they develop their plans in more detail and work with their local community to gather support for their proposed new school.”

For further information, visit www.cheshireschool.org.

Free schools are state-funded but free of local authority control and opposed by the Labour Party but enthusiastically promoted by Tory education secretary Michael Gove. Supporters claim they deliver excellent educational standards but critics argue they are elitist.

 

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