What is a Free School?
A Free School is an all-ability, state-funded, independent school similar to an academy. They can be set up in areas where there is a clear demand for them. They are funded comparably with other state schools, follow the School Admissions Code, take account of the Special Education Needs Code of Practice and have a broad and balanced curriculum to include English, Mathematics and Science.
Where will the school be located?
In its first year Finham Park 2 will be based in a brand new, purpose- built structure on Finham Park School’s site in Green Lane, alongside a brand new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) room and brand new Science room. Our permanent site for September 2016 will be the Land Registry site on Torrington Avenue.
When will the school open?
The school will open in September 2015, initially for Year 7 students.
How big will the school be?
Each year group will be 4 forms of entry (120 students in each year group). When full there will be 800 students (including 200 in the Sixth Form)
What are the benefits of opening a Free School?
- It will give parents a greater choice of school for their children to attend from age 11-18.
- It will alleviate the pressure on existing schools which will need a rapid expansion to cope with demand
- It will create a school of around 800 students, which in turn will create jobs in the School and in associated businesses and services in the local area
- A high quality school will attract families to the area rather than force them to relocate or send their children a greater distance to find better schooling.
What does Free School mean? Does it mean ‘non-paying’?
Yes. A Free School is a government name for a new type of state-funded school where the school, parents and the community have a greater say in how the school is run. Free Schools have more freedom than maintained schools, for example, with regard to school organisation, control of their budgets and the curriculum.
How are Free Schools held accountable?
The school will be run by a Board of Governors which is accountable to the Academy Trust which oversees the school. Just like state schools, Free Schools are regulated and inspected by Ofsted, with their exam results published in league tables. The school will be subject to similar financial and data regulations as other schools.
What will happen now we have a new government?
The new government are not only fully supporting new schools that have been approved to open in 2015 and 2016 but are looking to open a further 500 Free Schools across the country during their 5 years in power. For Finham Park 2 this means there will be full support from the Department for Education not only to ensure we open for September 2015, but that we are ready to move into our permanent building in 2016.
How are Free Schools funded?
Direct from Central government, according to the number of students and other factors. The money comes straight to the school and it is not top-sliced by local government. Capital funding (for buildings etc) comes from central government.
Will you be following the National Curriculum?
Yes. Our curriculum will ensure that every child reaches their full potential. We will also enhance our offering by having many extra-curricular activities.
Will all staff at the School have criminal record checks?
Safeguarding children will be paramount to everything that we do at Finham Park 2. It is the legal duty upon all schools, Academies and Free Schools to safeguard children. There is a mandatory requirement to carry out DBS checks on every member of staff who is in direct contact with children. We can confirm that all of our staff, including teachers, support staff, security, governors and anyone else who will be in contact with children will go through this process.
Will you test pupils before they are admitted to your School?
No, there will not be an admissions test. We are bound by the School Admissions Code set by the Department of Education.
How will you support Special Education Needs children?
We will have a Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) to help support students. Each child is unique, so we will apply flexible strategies that vary depending on the need of the child. If your child receives funding for his/ her special need they will receive exactly the same amount of funding at a free school as they would at any other state school.
Will students have to wear a uniform?
Yes. This will be based on Finham Park School’s uniform.