Free school prepares to welcome first class
Reporter: Karen Doherty
Date online: 29 August 2013
WORK continues to get Oldham’s first free school ready for its first day on Wednesday.
Around 50 Year Seven pupils are expected to start at Collective Spirit which controversially will occupy part of the former South Chadderton School site.
Oldham Council was told by the Government last month to hand the site to the group.
The council had hoped to sell the land for housing, and fought the handover for several months. The school is likely to cost council taxpayers up to £4million in lost revenue.
Raja Miah, director of Collective Spirit, didn’t want to discuss the new school with the Chronicle until opening day had passed.
“We want to get to the opening to take stock of exactly where we are.
“We are very busy at the moment. We got the building at the back end of July and our efforts have been in getting as much of it ready to open in September as possible.
“We are trying to squeeze into a four to five-week timescale.”
Around 80 per cent of the 60 places for Year Seven pupils have been filled.
Free schools are state-funded but outside local authority control.
There are currently 91nationwide, run by teacher and parent groups, private sponsors and faith organisations.
Another 93 will open in September.
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