New free school gets government go-ahead

Jonathan Morris
Jonathan Morris

The government has given permission for a new free school to be built in Haywards Heath.

The school will be run by The Sussex Learning Trust (SLT), which also runs the Warden Park academies, and is expected to open in Hurstwood Lane in 2019.

It was one of 131 applications from across the country to get the go-ahead from the Department for Education last week.

A spokesman for the Trust said the school would meet the anticipated housing growth in that part of Haywards Heath and provide “much-needed additional spaces for pupils struggling to get into the town’s existing, excellent schools”.

CEO Jonathan Morris said: “We are honoured to be given this exciting responsibility to provide a new school for the town.”

Six other schools were also approved for West Sussex: Bohunt Horsham, Wickhurst Green Primary, in Broadbridge Heath, Kilnwood Vale Primary, Forge Wood High, in Crawley, New Horizons West Durrington (Bluebell) Primary and St Clement CE Primary Academy, in Shoreham.

Since 2015, 124 free schools have opened across the UK, with a further 373 in the pipeline, including this latest wave. The governments wants to see 500 opened by September 2020.

As well as the new school at Hurstwood Lane, the SLT will add Northlands Wood Primary to its numbers on May 1 – and Bolnore Village Primary could soon follow.

The school, in Updown Hill, has launched a consultation into becoming an academy.

Mr Morris said: “We are really hopeful that Bolnore will join the Trust as this will give us a superb network of excellent schools ideally located to support and challenge each other so that the pupils in our schools get the very best education available.”

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