Claims that Burnley ‘free school’ has go-ahead

Burnley’s council leader has voiced her opposition to the town’s new free school, claiming it has been given the go-ahead by the Department for Education.

Friday, 24th January 2014, 3:00 pm

On her Twitter page Coun. Julie Cooper branded Burnley High School, which is due to open in September, “a scandalous waste of money and hugely damaging to the education of thousands of children in Burnley and Padiham.”

In an earlier Tweet she said: “Looks like the free school in Burnley has got the go ahead. Coalition is listening.”

But education bosses at Chapel Street Schools Trust, which will run the school, said they are still awaiting a decision from the Government and denied the plans have been approved.

The school will be the town’s first free school and will have a Christian ethos.

But while education bosses at Chapel Street said the school will improve the variety of options for pupils and parents, critics said it will take away vital funding from the borough’s five existing secondary schools.

So far no site has been earmarked for the building though Chapel Street has said it will be located in the BB12 postcode.

A spokeswoman for Chapel Street said: “We are still waiting to hear from the Department for Education.”

The Trust said it had had a lot of support from parents in the borough.

Dr Russell Rook, chief executive officer at Chapel Street, said: “It is good to see just how strong the support for Burnley High School is.

“The consultation was an important process, and I know many parents have been eagerly awaiting the outcome. We are hugely grateful to everyone from the community who contributed to the consultation and are determined to make a school that local children, parents and residents can be proud of.

“Many parents, other residents and key members of the community are clearly in support of the new school, and I look forward to sharing more of the consultation findings.”

A parents’ evening will take place on Thursday, February 13th, at 6pm at Life Church Burnley.

There will also be a tea for children who have applied at 3-30pm on Wednesday, February 26th, at Life Church.