Controversial ‘free school’ site revealed in Burnley

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The location of Burnley’s controversial new “free school” has finally be announced.

Bosses of the “Christian ethos” school have chosen the former Habergham High site in Byron Street for the home of the venture.

Plans for the Burnley High School were outlined to around 100 parents at a meeting with headteacher Elizabeth Haddock.

The former Habergham school has stood empty for a number of years following the £250 Building Schools for the Future Programme.

But plans are now to house around 600 pupils in the building including 11 to 16-year-olds and a sixth form centre.

The plans have been slammed by Council Leader Julie Cooper as “a scandalous waste of money and hugely damaging to the education of thousands of children in Burnley and Padiham.”

But a statutory process is now taking place between Lancashire County Council and the Department for Education regarding the site.

Executive principal Elizabeth Haddock said: “As a former school, the site is designed for education.

“There is lots of outdoor space including courts for games and grass pitches. The classrooms are large and airy with plenty of natural light. There is excellent access by road and by paths.

“It is a large site, originally designed for over 1000 students, so there is plenty of room for the 450 high school students plus our planned sixth form of an additional 200.

“Every student will have a staff member to coach them and the school is deliberately smaller than many secondary schools to ensure an excellent education individually tailored to each student.”

Burnley High School will be offering 90 places for Year 7 students starting in September 2014.

For reaction to the announcement read the full story in Tuesday’s Burnley Express.