Parents push for ‘Free School’ Canary Wharf College plan

CANARY Wharf’s first ever ‘Free School’ could be opened as early as next year after winning initial Government backing.

The Department for Education has given approval for the proposal of the first draft of the plan for a Canary Wharf College.

David Cameron’s Coalition Government has made it a key priority to grant more powers to parents to run their own schools free from local authority control.

And a group of parents on the Isle of Dogs - where the school-age population is 17 per cent higher than the rest of inner London - want the College open by next September once they have passed through the final business plan stage.

“It’s amazing how well it has been received, with 130 families already registering their interest in the College,” said Principal Sarah Counter.

“The population of the Island is increasing rapidly and the number of places needed is also increasing. Everybody recognises there is a need for more primary and secondary places.”

A number of sites are currently being looked at for a school on the Isle of Dogs, with places initially offered 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.

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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.

“Through excellence in education the college will provide the foundation for every child; academically, socially and emotionally,” added Ms Counter, who is also a schools inspector. “There is a huge enthusiasm for this with so much support from the community and the local authority.”