PLANS to create a free school with extended opening times in Oxford are well on track, says the man behind the plan.

And backers say that they have identified a suitable site in the city and negotiations are under way.

Mike Reed, the Oxford-based businessman behind the scheme, said he expects to submit an application to the Department for Education in February, with a view to opening the new school for four- to 11-year-olds in September 2013.

Public meetings and events in shopping centres will be held from this Saturday to explain what the new school could offer.

The proposal would allow parents to drop off youngsters from as early as 7.50am and collect them at 6pm, in a radical new approach to primary school education.

The free school would cater for 182 children, which Mr Reed says could help combat the worrying shortage of primary school places in the city. The academic year is expected to consist of six terms, each of six or seven weeks, with a two-week holiday between and a four-week break in August.

Kathryn Creed, the woman appointed as principal designate, was head of the middle school at St Hugh’s School in Faringdon from 2002-2011.

Miss Creed said: “We will be looking to have class sizes of 26 and class sizes of only 12 to 14 for maths and English.”

Specialist part-time maths and English teachers would be funded from charges paid by parents using the school breakfast club, running from 7.50am to 8.35am or the after-school club from 4pm to 6pm. This would feature activities, sports, tea and prep.

Miss Creed said: “By the time children are picked up at six they would have eaten, done their homework and there would still be time for parents to relax with their children.”

With the free school concept expected to appeal to working parents, Miss Creed said it was key for parents to register their interest. She said: “We need to present real evidence that there is parental demand for this.”

Mr Reed, owner of the Banbury property company Lumar Developments, said he got the idea after reading a newspaper story about parents in Norwich creating one of the government’s free schools.

He was struck by the difficulties his own children faced picking up their youngsters from school while doing demanding jobs.

Mr Reed said: “I’m delighted Kathryn has accepted the principal designate position. She has been teaching four to 11-year-old pupils for over 17 years in both the public and private sectors, including children with special educational needs.”

Parents can learn more about the school at Oxford’s Clarendon Centre on Saturday (11am to 3 pm) and December 14 (11am to 3pm); outside Summertown Marks and Spencer store on December 15 (11am to 1pm) and again on December 17 (1 pm to 3pm); and at Templars Square Cowley on December 16 (2pm to 5pm). There will be a further meeting on December 18 at East Oxford Community Centre, Cowley Road, from 4pm to 5.30 pm.