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Free Ancoats School Two Thirds Short Of Student Target

Only 21 kids registered as deadline looms

Written by . Published on January 31st 2012.

Free Ancoats School Two Thirds Short Of Student Target

PLANS for a brand new free school in New Islington in Ancoats have so far failed to spark interest among local residents - but the developers are hopeful of making the project work.

Manchester Grammar School, Manchester City Council and property developers Urban Splash want to build the school behind the Central Retail Park off Great Ancoats Street but need a sharp increase in the number of online expressions of interest if it is to have any chance of being realised.

“If we fall short of the 60 registrations by the deadline, we will have to defer our proposal until next year."

The project needs 60 families with a child in the right postcode area, who will be between four and five years-old by 2013, to have registered an interest by the 24 February 2012.

There are currently just 21.

Stuart Leeming, deputy high master at The Manchester Grammar School, said: We need half of our planned first year intake to register an interest online before we submit our proposal.

“We are a third of the way there but we need a big push now if we are going to make it.”

The school will be open to both boys and girls and will not select its intake on academic grounds. The aim is to provide high quality education, which draws on the best principles of MGS, yet delivered in and adapted for a different context. Leeming insists it will not be a clone of MGS.

Tom Bloxham MBE, chairman of Urban Splash, said: “There’s a generation of people who’ve lived in city apartments for the past decade but at the point of having children they often feel that they have to move out to the suburbs.”

It’s a situation Debra Todd, a resident at Royal Mill Apartments and a parent, knows only too well.

“I’m constantly under pressure from my suburban friends who keep asking, 'when are you going to move to Didsbury, Chorlton, Altrincham, etc.'” she said.

“This school would encourage city families such as us to stay here. The facilities we have for children at the moment are excellent, we just need a school.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “It’s long been one of our goals to have a new primary school in New Islington and that vision is moving forward step by step.”

As a free school, New Islington will be independent of state or local authority control but will be funded in full by the Department for Education.

It will be set-up and run by a not-for-profit company that will become an exempt educational charity. The Directors of that company will form the Board of Governors,  and will be responsible for the operation of the School.

A promotional campaign has been running on twitter and posters are beginning to spring up in the city. It appears that many are aware of this project and support it, but what is urgently needed is registered interest online.

Leeming would like more than 100 registrations to cover intake for the first two years, but with time running out, that number could be difficult to achieve.

“If we fall short of the 60 registrations by the deadline, we will have to defer our proposal until next year,” he said.

To register your interest in a New Islington Free School, visit their website here

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15 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Calum McGJanuary 31st 2012.


1 Response: Reply To This...
Simon BinnsJanuary 31st 2012.

Tsk. Old edits die hard.

Maybe we should put ourselves down for a place?

Calum McGJanuary 31st 2012.

PS: hope this project succeeds; as we build up the correct facilities in the centre, families will have the choice of staying, as opposed to upping sticks when they have kids. Of course, the planning department needs to work with developers on apartments with more 3 or 4 bed flats... else families will generally be forced to live short-term in the centre. In my block in Castlefield there are no 3-bed flats!

James HJanuary 31st 2012.

Fantastic - over a third of the way there already! The catchment area is a lot bigger than many people think (all the way to Piddy station) so if you have mates with kids who live in the catchment area or work in the city centre or who are simply broody get them signing up!

AnonymousJanuary 31st 2012.

If I work in town but live in Altrincham, can I sign up my kid? It's a school-run efficiency sort of thing...


Call me DaveJanuary 31st 2012.

If you work in Manchester but live in Altrincham, you will probably find that you are dropping off your kids in one of the private schools in Whalley Range.

It's a 'we're all in this together' sort of thing.


AnonymousJanuary 31st 2012.

30 years of building small family un-friendly city centre housing coming home to roost for Urban Splash and an acquiescent planning department?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerJanuary 31st 2012.

Bang on

Man in a shedJanuary 31st 2012.

Agreed, bit of Chicken and Egg situation really.

AnonymousFebruary 1st 2012.

Since when has a private property developer been responsible for building schools? You don't see Belway/Wimpy etc building schools, instead they chuck up huge cardboard box estates but that's okay as they are not in a city centre.

Eddy RheadJanuary 31st 2012.

Is this an advert or an editorial?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 31st 2012.

What exactly do you object to in this Eddy?

Eddy RheadJanuary 31st 2012.

All of it.

Anonymous2February 22nd 2012.

Shame the Labour Party is supporting the ConDem privatisation of state education

1 Response: Reply To This...
GIMBOIDFebruary 22nd 2012.

Shame you haven't got anything relevant to add.

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