SEPARATE plans to create two ‘free schools’ in Chester have been given Government approval to open in September 2013.
Both the proposed University Cathedral School – based in one of the historic buildings in Abbey Square – and St Martin’s Academy discovered today (Friday, July 13) that they had been successful in securing crucial funding from the Department for Education.
In total, the Government has given the green light for 102 free schools to open next year – an increase of 50% on the number approved in 2011.
In September last year the first 24 free schools opened, while this September about 50 are due to get up and running.
The University of Chester Academies Trust and Chester Cathedral are behind the free school plan in Abbey Square, which will eventually cater for 180 pupils.
It will specialise in all forms of music and singing, with the option of pupils having up to six hours music and vocal tuition every week.
Two ambitious Chester headteachers, who do not want to be named for fear of unsettling their current schools, are behind the St Martin’s Academy plan.
They submitted their proposal under the name ‘North West Academies’ and are currently looking at two potential city centre sites.
A period of statutory consultation will now be undertaken and planning permission sought by Cheshire West and Chester Council before the free schools can become a reality.
Free schools are state-funded and can be set up and run by education experts, trusts, charities, parents or community groups to address a specific need.