Plans for new Christian school sixth form in Burnley

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A proposed Christian-ethos free school which could open in Burnley next year has also submitted plans for a 200-place sixth form.

Those behind Burnley High School have submitted proposals to the Department for Education and hope a sixth form could be up and running by 2019.

The group behind the bid, which includes charity the Chapel Street Community Schools Trust, Life Church in Burnley, headteachers Julie Bradley, from St Leonard’s in Padiham, and Dawn Forshaw, from Wellfield Primary School, Incredible Edible Todmorden founder Prof. Paul Clarke and Community Solutions have yet to identify a site for the school.

The 650-place high school plans to focus on sustainability and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects while the sixth form will teach ecological and environmental sciences, entrepreneurial skills and ecologically-focused vocational courses.

Mr Jeff Brunton, from Life Church, said: “Obviously the sixth form is still only a proposal. It is with the Department for Education.”

The minister previously told the Express the group had been in touch with different schools, churches and faith groups, including Building Bridges, Burnley, and he said the response to the plans so far had been positive.

He said the new school would not affect the intake at Burnley’s existing five secondary schools as it would target pupils attending schools outside the borough, mainly St Christopher’s in Accrington and St Wilfrid’s, Blackburn.

If given the go-ahead, Burnley High School could open in September next year.

Free schools, which are not under the control of a local authority, were introduced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010 and can be set up by parents, teachers, charities or businesses. The group hopes Burnley High School could help cater for pupils who want a Christian education but choose not to attend Blessed Trinity RC College, which is situated in Ormerod Road, Burnley.

Mr Brunton told the Express: “A lot of children leave the borough to be educated outside the borough because they don’t have the option of Christian ethos school. We felt, after we were approached, that it could be an exciting possibility for the town.”

Burnley partners were approached by Chapel Street, a Christian charity.