A GROUP of experienced teachers is making steady progress on putting a bid together for a new free school in Chester, aimed at recruiting 16- to 19-year-olds from all backgrounds who are aspiring for entry to top universities.
Teachers Annette France, Pauline Lowrie, Dr Vimalan Jesudason and Tass Sgouros hope to establish Cheshire Free School, which will focus predominantly on A-levels in biology, chemistry, physics and maths, in Chester.
They expect students from West Cheshire, Ellesmere Port, Flintshire and Halton will attend, as well as those from the immediate area.
Director of formal curriculum Pauline Lowrie said: “We are a team of experienced teachers of 16- to 19-year-olds and we felt that we would like to start our own school, particularly focusing on stem subjects.
“We were just talking together and saying it would be a lovely idea to start our own college, putting our ideas into practice.
“We’re not a private company, which is quite unusual as a lot of free schools are backed by companies or parents.”
One of the key features of the college will be its enrichment curriculum focusing on areas such as music, performing arts, and the history and philosophy of science.
Pauline said: “We are keen to expand the number of students going to universities like Oxford and Cambridge and studying medicine or veterinary medicine.
“There is evidence nationally that far more children from private schools go on to study these subjects and one of the reasons is that private schools often have enrichment curricula so students educated there spend a lot of time doing work experience and music.
“We want to provide that kind of curriculum for our students, so we would spend the equivalent of a day each week on enrichment activities.”
The bid is being backed by Chester MP Stephen Mosley, who said: “I couldn’t be prouder of the transformation under way in Chester’s education.
“While supporting our fantastic existing schools – including a complete rebuild for four schools in Blacon – we’re introducing more choice for parents and standards are rising across our city.
“A group of teachers are now proposing a free school that specialises in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These are the subjects that will provide the world-class jobs of the future. I will support any and every effort to better prepare the young people of Chester to thrive at these subjects.”
At least four hundred registrations – which aren’t binding contracts – are required to demonstrate there is sufficient demand. A public meeting to discuss the college was held at Mollington and Backford Village Hall last night after the Chronicle went to press.
For more information, visit www.cheshireschool.org.