Committee behind plan for new free school announce proposed location

Cornerstone free school logo

Cornerstone free school logo - Credit: Archant

A proposal for a new free school in St Ives has been submitted.

The Cornerstone Free School, which is proposed to be a Christian secondary school, could be open before the start of the 2020-21 academic year, if the plans progress to schedule.

The committee behind the proposed new school says it has reached an agreement with Fulham Boys School, a free school in London, to come under its umbrella.

When the idea was first mooted earlier this year, no location had been announced, however it has now been confirmed that the committee plans to locate the school in the St Ives area.

Committee organiser, Sarah Kerley said: “We feel there is a huge gap in the market for this in Huntingdonshire. There is no other option for a faith school in our area that is non fee-paying and that models itself on the independent sector.

“The only non fee-paying Christian secondary school in the whole of Cambridgeshire sits in Cambridge city centre - St Bede’s - and is oversubscribed every year, with a very long waiting list.

“Our plan is for a very aspirational school in terms of results, but also aspires to be a leading light for disadvantaged pupils or those who cannot afford private school education. Why shouldn’t an exceptional education be accessible to all?

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“So our curriculum plans include interacting with local businesses and the wider community to make learning relevant and fun and to equip students for the world of work as well as for university, as we realise that schools need to prepare students for both – not just to aim for university.

“With a potential school site near these small Fenland villages, the curriculum plans for good links with agricultural and horticultural businesses. We plan for an on-school farm and greenhouses and to have a sustainable economy running through the school.”

The catchment area for the school would include Somersham, Bluntisham, Earith, Needingworth, Holywell, the Hemingfords, Pidley, and Woodhurst, as well as other villages in the area.

The application for the school has already been submitted and now is being considered by the Department of Education.

The committee for the proposed school has said that it knows there is demand for a free school in Huntingdonshire, but needs the public’s help to support the plan in order for it to progress.

Ms Kerley said: “We want to reach all interested potential parents, who think this may be a secondary school option that they want for their child, and we need those people to visit our website and register their interest.

“By registering an interest, it is important to stress that prospective parents will not be committing to anything other than to say that they support the concept of our school proposal.”

To find out more or comment on the proposal visit: