James Brokenshire has warmly welcomed the news that Bexley’s first “free school” will open next year. The Hope Community School has been given the green light by the Department for Education to accept Primary School pupils from September. Hope Community School will serve the Sidcup/Foots Cray area from the site of the old Harenc School site.
Hope Community School is being taken forward by a team from New Generation Church, Sidcup in partnership with local businesses and community organisations. The school which will be not for profit and state-funded and will have a religious character of Christianity but be open to people of all faiths and those of no faith.
Free Schools were launched in 2010 and can be set up by a wide range of proposers, including charities, universities, businesses, educational groups, teachers and groups of parents. They are intended to address a particular need within a community and respond to the views of local people on how education could be enhanced.
In a letter to James Brokenshire confirming the Department for Education’s decisions to give funding approval, School’s Minster Lord Nash said:
“Free Schools form an integral part of the Government’s education policy to improve choice and drive up standards in schools. I am therefore delighted that Hope Community School will open this September bringing new opportunities for children in your constituency”
Commenting, Paul Weston who is part of the team behind Hope Community School said:
“Our vision is to achieve excellent outcomes for children and the local community. We want to open a school which is the heartbeat of the community; reaching out to local families to increase children's aspirations and maximising each child's talents.
“We intend to create an encouraging and inclusive environment, extending into the community and creating links with local businesses. The school’s ethos would be underpinned by the Christian values of generosity and hospitality.
James Brokenshire has given his full support to the school. Welcoming the new opportunities Hope Community School will provide. James said:
“This is an exciting new development and the ethos and community focus behind the school’s plans are impressive. There is little doubt of the pressure on primary school places in the Sidcup area and Hope Community School will be a welcome new addition to help ensure that local children have the best start in their education and to help fulfil their potential.”
Lord Nash's letter in full: