Parents submit plans for a free school in Willesden to education chiefs

Javier Senn, Richard O'Sullivan, Thomas Quinn, Flavia Narwanga are planning to set up Gladstone Scho

Javier Senn, Richard O'Sullivan, Thomas Quinn, Flavia Narwanga are planning to set up Gladstone School - Credit: Archant

The proposed Gladstone School would cater for 800 secondary pupils

Concerned parents who want to set up a new free school in the borough have submitted their plans to the Department for Education (DfE).

Gladstone School, which is proposed by a group of local parents and education specialists, has submitted an application for a new secondary school for 800 students in a bid to tackle growing demand for school places.

The group intends that the new school, which would open in September 2014 in the Gladstone Park area in Willesden, will reflect the needs of the local community, and provide enough new school places to help take the pressure off existing schools.

Jim Gatten, a member of the organising committee, said: “We are delighted to be making this application to the DfE for a new school for this area.

“We have been working with the local community for the past six months and have been overwhelmed with the level of local support; already over 200 families have come forward to support our proposals, almost two years ahead of the school’s opening.”

Free schools can be controversial because they are able to break away from local authority control.

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If approved by central government it will be able to manage its own finances, set its own agenda and curriculum and have its own admissions policy.

The school previously told the Times they wanted to adopt new and innovative methods in their teaching to ‘get children excited about learning again’.

Mr Gatten added: “Our very detailed plans are now in for consideration and we are looking forward to bringing good news to the families that have supported us in the spring.”

Gladstone School is one of 32 selected by a national programme designed to help groups working to set up new schools for pupils at risk of educational disadvantage, run by independent education charity, the New Schools Network (NSN). Natalie Evans, Director of NSN said: “We are pleased Gladstone School has benefited from our Development Programme and wish them well with their application.”

Parents and families wanting to know more, including how to put their names down to support Gladstone School, should visit