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Free school refusal fails to deter group
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.
“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.