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New free thinking
7:00am Friday 11th January 2013 in Oxford
REVISED plans for a proposed free school in Oxford have been submitted to the Government.
An earlier proposal from the Oxford New School steering group for Oxford’s first new secondary school since 1972 was rejected last year by the Department for Education because of a lack of detail.
But now the group of parents, teachers, school leaders and education professionals has put together a new scheme.
Originally it was planned for the school to have a sixth form and to follow the Scottish Curriculum.
Now the group has revised its proposal so it would follow the new qualifications currently being developed, the English Baccalaureate Certificate, known as the EBacc, and a Technical Baccalaureate or TechBacc for more practical, vocational subjects.
It would take up to 100 pupils in each year, starting with Year 7 in September 2014, and would no longer include a sixth form.
That is a larger number of pupils per year than originally proposed, but the school would still remain among the smallest Oxfordshire secondaries with a maximum of 500 pupils.
Lead proposer Eylan Ezekiel is an educational consultant, former teacher and father of two.
He said: “The key differences to the original proposal are that it is far more detailed in our educational plan in terms of how we are going to implement our vision.
“We will make sure children have appropriate qualifications that are the main currency for getting into jobs and further education.”
So far 250 families have expressed their support for the proposal, but the organisers want more to back the planned school to show the level of interest in their proposal.
In the application to the Department for Education, four potential sites in the east and south of the city have been identified.
Mr Ezekiel said that because no funding would be released until the plan was given the go-ahead, it was not possible to enter into detailed negotiations with landowners and he could not reveal the locations yet.
The 41-year-old, from Florence Park, said he hoped to be able to lay out all the non-confidential details of the proposed school, from staffing to curriculum, in a public meeting to be arranged in the next couple of months.
If the application is assessed as being worthy of taking further, the group will be invited to interview in March or April.
The organisers will find out if they have been given permission in May.
l For more details, visit onschool.org.uk
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