Two New 'Free Schools' for mid Cornwall, but we miss out on new SEN provision

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Cornwall will try again to create ‘free schools’ after the first one in Camborne, St Michaels , closed down in 2015 after receiving £4.5m from the public purse to set it self up and was dogged with controversy from the outset.

Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, has welcomed the announcements of two new schools and nursery in Mid-Cornwall. The news was made public  last week before the announcement of a general election.

Newquay Primary Academy has been approved to open in Newquay and that ACE Sky Academy and Eden Project Nursery have been approved in St Austell. These new primary schools are proposed to open as early as September 2018.

Newquay Primary Academy, which is being set up by Newquay Education Trust (a Multi-Academy Trust founded by Newquay Junior and Newquay Tretherras) will serve a genuine need for additional primary school places in Newquay, a need that currently sees many parents faced with the prospects of not being able to secure places locally and have to have their children placed in schools requiring transport out of town.

ACE Sky Academy and Eden Project Nursery is being set up by the Atlantic Centre of Excellence (A.C.E.) Trust in partnership with the Eden Project and Eco-Bos Development, the company behind the West Carclaze eco-community. The school is planned to cater for 420 pupils, initially accommodating foundation stage and building up each year to form a two form entry school.

The Eden Project Nursery planned for the same site will have a capacity of 60 three to four year old children. The nursery will serve primarily the growing eco-community at West Carclaze as well as meeting wider local need and is due to open from September 2019.

The Department for Education has approved applications for 131 new schools nationally, creating more than 69,000 places. These schools will be led by high-performing institutions, controversially including a grammar-school-led multi-academy trust (MAT) and the largest state boarding school in the country.

Last week’s announcement comes on top of another free school primary for NQY previously announced and Truro & Penwith College have approval to open a 6th form Free School at Callywith.

However an application suppported by the Council for a SEN free school has been declined for now. The local authority had been fully supporting the process.

Andrew Wallis the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services has cautiously welcomed the announcement.  “Callywith is needed” he told CS. “Two are nursery schools, Newquay is the other primary, St Austell is also a hot spot for school spaces so on face value it’s welcomed”

“Sad about the SEN school as that is needed” he told us.

More free schools are in the planning stages but not confirmed or approved for the Duchy.

Meanwhile a new body called LocatED has been established to acquire land and buildings across the country to help the government build 500 new free schools by 2020 and create 600,000 new school places by 2021.

Commenting, Steve Double, MP for Snozzle & NQY said:

“Following the approval of the Eco-Town and the additional housing approved in Newquay, I believe it is important to ensure the appropriate services and infrastructure are in place before these houses are built. Primary Schools are already at capacity in our constituency and the addition of further housing will exacerbate this.”

“I am therefore pleased to welcome the announcement of two new primary schools and nursery which are due to open before the completion of these new housing developments providing much needed Primary School places for children within Mid-Cornwall.”

“This is also a positive step in expanding the choice of schools available to parents and I believe the connection with the Eden project in West Carclaze offers fantastic opportunities to our young people.”

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