East London science free school plans given go-ahead by Coalition

The Department for Education has given the green light to plans for a new specialist science school in the East End.

The initiative of David Perks, a physics teacher from Tower Hamlets, the East London Science School is now due to open its doors to pupils in September 2013.

More than 100 other free schools across the country were also given the go-ahead by education secretary Michael Gove in an attempt to get one of the Coalition’s flagship education policies off the ground. These schools will be state-funded, but independent of local authority control.

The curriculum will include a range of subjects, with a particular focus on science and maths, with pupils given the opportunity to continue studying all three sciences until the age of 16, regardless of ability.

Mr Perks said he was relishing the challenges ahead: “This is an incredibly exciting day - we have a massive opportunity to put the East End on the map educationally.”

The school will have an initial intake of 120 pupils in its first year, but that figure will eventually rise to more than 1,000, with a sixth form included.

Mark Smith, one of the school’s directors, expressed his hope that the school can help promote the East End as a centre of innovation.

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“This is fantastic for the renaissance of the East End. This school will help to bridge the gap between the haves and the have nots and help all children to achieve their maximum potential,” he said.

“I also hope, its science specialism it will spawn a new generation of investors and scientists and put London and the UK back on the map for science education.”

The school’s proposed location is yet to be finalised, but parents and prospective pupils will be invited to join the directors at meetings in the autumn to find out more information about their plans.