Free school refusal fails to deter group

Oxford Mail: Eylan Ezekiel, lead proposer for the free school Eylan Ezekiel, lead proposer for the free school

PLANS to open a new free school in Oxford have been rejected by the Government.

The steering group behind Oxford New School hoped to open a 360-place secondary school in south-east Oxford, taking in children in September 2013.

The aim was to offer a mix of academic subjects and 21st century vocational skills in a mixed comprehensive school.

But the Department for Education told the group their bid had been unsuccessful.

The DfE asked for more information on how the curriculum would be delivered, examples of the kinds of things children would be studying, what resources would be used and what activities would be involved.

Eylan Ezekiel, lead proposer for the school, said: “We are a little bit disappointed but not hugely surprised. We were originally aiming for 2014 so to some extent we ran for this year to see if we had the strength and support we needed.”

He said the key issues with the proposal were to do with lack of detail in certain areas.

He said: “They were happy with lots of parts of the proposal but we need to do more.

“We were complimented for our community links and the work we had done in the community and on our curriculum and educational plan.

“They were impressed with our clear vision and our ethos – we weren’t sure how they would go down, but they went down well so we were heartened.”

Steering group discussions and meetings with partners and supporters, including the Oxford Trust and Science Oxford, will be held to decide the next move.

Adrian Sell, chairman of the steering group, said: “We knew submitting a bid this year was going to be a huge challenge. We only formed our group six months ago and the work required to put a bid together is massive.

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“We will be seeking further feedback and considering what to do next.

“Given the huge upsurge in interest we have seen, and the clear need for a new secondary school in Oxford in the coming years, it is likely that we will be back next year with a stronger bid.”

The proposers have identified four possible sites for the school, all within the city, but have not made the locations public.

The school has pledged to offer a curriculum featuring study for qualifications ranging from GCSEs, A-Levels and the International Baccalaureate, to apprenticeships and vocational qualifications.

Comments (6)

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6:36pm Wed 25 Apr 12

L0RD PETER MCVEY 0X2 6EG says...

I said when this story first came out last year that it was very flawed, and feel that the government have been 100% correct in their refusal of this. P.S. If they are so good why are all schools not "free schools"
I said when this story first came out last year that it was very flawed, and feel that the government have been 100% correct in their refusal of this. P.S. If they are so good why are all schools not "free schools" L0RD PETER MCVEY 0X2 6EG

7:00pm Wed 25 Apr 12

EylanEzekiel says...

Thanks for this article Fran.
Two comments:

1 - You say
"The school has pledged to offer a curriculum featuring study for qualifications ranging from GCSEs, A-Levels and the International Baccalaureate, to apprenticeships and vocational qualifications."
This is not correct. We have made no pledges - except that we will consult with local parents and partners, through the governance of the school, and create qualification pathways that fit the needs of our students. This is very likely to include the range of options you mentioned - but that is not the same as a pledge.

Secondly, we have not named sites in the city for two very simple reasons. In other similar situations in previous years, local landowners increased the cost well over the value of their property when a school proposal was fixed on using a specific location. This cynical reality, especially in Oxford, has meant that it was wise for us to keep our sites confidential for now.

Another important fact is that no free school group can negotiate for land or a building, unless they have the funds to pay for it! This is a legal constraint on all groups - so we could not give the impression that we were in negotiations with anyone.

I hope this makes things clearer.

As to the words of Lord Peter McVey, nr Walton Street, it is nice that you have so much time to comment on our story and share your views - despite a lack of facts, but blessed with a surplus of opinion.

Where would the comment section of this site be without you? Long may you continue to pour scorn on all that offends you.
Thanks for this article Fran. Two comments: 1 - You say "The school has pledged to offer a curriculum featuring study for qualifications ranging from GCSEs, A-Levels and the International Baccalaureate, to apprenticeships and vocational qualifications." This is not correct. We have made no pledges - except that we will consult with local parents and partners, through the governance of the school, and create qualification pathways that fit the needs of our students. This is very likely to include the range of options you mentioned - but that is not the same as a pledge. Secondly, we have not named sites in the city for two very simple reasons. In other similar situations in previous years, local landowners increased the cost well over the value of their property when a school proposal was fixed on using a specific location. This cynical reality, especially in Oxford, has meant that it was wise for us to keep our sites confidential for now. Another important fact is that no free school group can negotiate for land or a building, unless they have the funds to pay for it! This is a legal constraint on all groups - so we could not give the impression that we were in negotiations with anyone. I hope this makes things clearer. As to the words of Lord Peter McVey, nr Walton Street, it is nice that you have so much time to comment on our story and share your views - despite a lack of facts, but blessed with a surplus of opinion. Where would the comment section of this site be without you? Long may you continue to pour scorn on all that offends you. EylanEzekiel

7:16pm Wed 25 Apr 12

L0RD PETER MCVEY 0X2 6EG says...

Don't worry Eyl, until the Fags and Sancerré get me I shall be here to put the world to right.
Don't worry Eyl, until the Fags and Sancerré get me I shall be here to put the world to right. L0RD PETER MCVEY 0X2 6EG

8:16pm Wed 25 Apr 12

L0RD PETER MCVEY 0X2 6EG says...

P.S. Eyl. Just to put my mind at rest. What is your current employment and salary, and what will be your employment and salary IF you get the go ahead for this folly of yours. The answer to those two simple questions will quell the cynic in me that says that you are in it for the money, and not the kids education. A refusal will only confirm that it IS financial.
P.S. Eyl. Just to put my mind at rest. What is your current employment and salary, and what will be your employment and salary IF you get the go ahead for this folly of yours. The answer to those two simple questions will quell the cynic in me that says that you are in it for the money, and not the kids education. A refusal will only confirm that it IS financial. L0RD PETER MCVEY 0X2 6EG

8:31pm Wed 25 Apr 12

EylanEzekiel says...

LOL!!! Fags and Sancerre... brilliant!! Don't smoke -but would be happy to put the world to right with you over a bottle.

Not sure I want to try to quell the cynic in you. It seems to be too perky to ever stop!

I left a very well paid job in Feb last year - my choice - to explore how to have more effect than in a profit driven company or in public sector politics. I have no regular income - work as a freelance consultant to publishers in education - supply teach when I can.

You might want to read my blog post on my own motives
http://www.ezekiels.
co.uk/eylan/whats-in
-it-for-me-pt1/

I am very easy to find on Google and you can see my views on most things, where I have worked, what others say about me from there.

I do not expect a job at the school - and there will be a totally open recruitment process. I certainly do not want a headship - as I have no experience in this role and am probably the wrong sort of person for this position.

So - does this make you feel any better?
LOL!!! Fags and Sancerre... brilliant!! Don't smoke -but would be happy to put the world to right with you over a bottle. Not sure I want to try to quell the cynic in you. It seems to be too perky to ever stop! I left a very well paid job in Feb last year - my choice - to explore how to have more effect than in a profit driven company or in public sector politics. I have no regular income - work as a freelance consultant to publishers in education - supply teach when I can. You might want to read my blog post on my own motives http://www.ezekiels. co.uk/eylan/whats-in -it-for-me-pt1/ I am very easy to find on Google and you can see my views on most things, where I have worked, what others say about me from there. I do not expect a job at the school - and there will be a totally open recruitment process. I certainly do not want a headship - as I have no experience in this role and am probably the wrong sort of person for this position. So - does this make you feel any better? EylanEzekiel

8:38pm Wed 25 Apr 12

L0RD PETER MCVEY 0X2 6EG says...

A bit, but C'mon where is the accent over the E. Surely you can do that!!!!
A bit, but C'mon where is the accent over the E. Surely you can do that!!!! L0RD PETER MCVEY 0X2 6EG

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