Ideal site found for Canary Wharf ‘free’ school

PARENTS trying to open their own school in east London have taken a giant step forward - with a little help from The Docklands.

Canary Wharf College is set to be ready for this September after a local businessman stepped forward following an appeal by this paper for a site last month.

He had office space to rent next to Crossharbour DLR station and after a meeting with the school’s backers, the site was duly chosen as a home to the new school.

“It’s very exciting as we have the use of very large rooms that will need very little modification,” said principal Sarah Counter. “Even more exciting is that the Power League have four astro-turf pitches which we will be able to use from September.

“With those pitches and the green space around the site, it’s made for a school to move into the middle.”

The College, which has initial approval from the Department for Education, will be one of the first in the UK to accept the Coalition Government’s offer for schools to run their affairs free from local authority control.

More than 130 families have registered their interest and places will be offered initially for children in reception and years one and two, with average class sizes of 20 pupils. A year seven class will be added from 2013, giving the school two years to find bigger premises or work with a developer to be included as part of plans for a new office or homes block.

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Allocating places will begin once the business plan has been agreed, with spaces expected to be at a premium and likely to be served initially according to postcode.

The independent school will have a Christian ethos whilst welcoming those of other faiths and will place a strong emphasis on maths, technology and science.