Charity gets enough backing to apply for free school in Bethnal Green/Whitechapel

An education charity has applied to set up a primary school in Tower Hamlets after seeing a “strong demand” from East End parents.

The Constable Education Trust is hoping to set up the free school in the Bethnal Green/Whitechapel area – a part of London it believes is in need of more quality primary places.

The school would be state funded and mainstream although the trust’s founders say they have extensive experience in identifying educational problems early on in a child’s development.

The charity already runs an independent school in Fulham for pupils with special needs and dyslexia.

While five London boroughs were singled out as potential sites for the school, the interest from parents in Tower Hamlets was particularly strong.

An application was sent off to the Department for Education yesterday and the trust finds out in September if it has been successful.

The school would be a place where “children’s challenges or special abilities are identified at the start of their school years,” CET director Ronda Fogel said.

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She added: “We’ve had great support locally and we’re optimistic about the next steps.”

Under the government’s guidelines, the number of parents showing their support for a school must make up at least half of its proposed intake.

The trust managed to get 22 per cent more parents on board than it needed.

The school would initially take in two reception classes and one year one class.

If it is given the go ahead, CET will need to hold a public consultation before the school can open in 2012.

The government’s free school initiative – allowing parents to set up their own state-funded schools if they feel there are a lack of appropriate places in their area – has already gathered pace in Tower Hamlets.

Canary Wharf College, a secondary school with a Christian ethos, has been given the green light and is opening in September.

Meanwhile, the Wapping and Shadwell Secondary Education Trust has applied to open another secondary school and sixth form and has the backing of A-Lister and Wapping resident Helen Mirren.