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New free school planned for Burnley

The Heights will be built in Daneshouse
The Heights will be built in Daneshouse
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A new free school is to be built in Burnley.

The Heights, which will cater for children who struggle with mainstream education, will be built on the site of the former Ridgewood High School in March Street, Daneshouse.

The site has been subjected to vandalism and arson in recent years, since Ridgewood moved to its present location, next to Sir John Thursby Community College in Eastern Avenue.

The Heights Burnley, an alternative provision free school, will open in Easter 2019.

It will provide vocational education in addition to core subjects for pupils who have found it difficult to achieve in their mainstream setting.

Sharon Roscoe, chief executive of the Education Partnership Trust which will run the school, said: “The Heights Burnley is an example of how partnership working can make a real difference.

“The school will fill a gap in local provision and meet the needs of young people in our borough. I am pleased to announce that funding for the building has been confirmed as approximately £5.4m.

“This significant, but much needed investment will enable these young people to achieve the best possible educational outcomes while providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to achieve a successful transition into further education, employment and training.

“We are working closely with schools in Burnley, the council, the Department of Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency and have now entered the design phase following a successful procurement process.”

Burnley MP Julie Cooper, who in the past has expressed her reservations about free schools, which operate outside of local authority control, gave the Heights her backing because it was not in direct competition to exisiting Burnley schools.

She said: “Unlike the Burnley High School, the Heights will offer something Burnley currently does not have, and will compliment our existing schools.

“However, I will monitor it closely to ensure our tax-payers get value for money.”