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The group behind a new free school for Hackney, have jumped one hurdle and have been selected by The Department for Education to progress to the second round, where the team made up of Hackney residents, parents and education experts, will be interviewed by the DfE.
In February, around 330 groups put applications forward to open schools in 2013. It is expected that a third will have made it through to interview stage.
Andreas Weseman the groups leader said on hearing of their success: “Many parents feel that, while there are now three (Ofsted-rated) outstanding secondary schools in Hackney, there is room for a school that is a bit smaller, is focused on the development of the individual through music, sports and debating, and in which the parents can have more involvement and influence.
“The Hackney New School will be a mixed, non-denominational, state (i.e. free to attend) school for children aged 11 to 19, with a strong focus on music. By building links with many organizations and businesses in the form of mentoring and work experience, and by fostering academic excellence and instilling self-belief (through debating, studying history and literature and taking part in music performance), HNS hopes to give its students the confidence and ambition to be part of the growth of enterprise in Hackney and the surrounding area. He further outlined their goals;
“The aim is to provide students with an excellent education in the foundation subjects, but with a longer school day also to encourage them to participate in debates, to read widely and to develop an interest in the history of science or political thinking. They will also all get the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and take a GCSE in music”.
The teams proposal to the DfE went in with over 500 children applying for places at the school, but they say applications are still being submitted.
The proposal is not without opposition, who feel a school like it in Hackney will be the beginning of privatization of local schools, who will take much needed funding away from existing state schools and cause social segregation. They also fear free schools will threaten pay, working condition, union rights of teachers and feel they will not be democratically accountable.
Free schools are state funded outside of local authorities in response to local people who seek a different way to improve education in their community.
For more information or to put your child’s name forward, you can visit their site: