Saracens Rugby club plan to open free school in Colindale
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A top-flight rugby club has announced plans to give education a try by setting up its own free school in Colindale.
Rugby union team Saracens F.C are looking to solve a chronic shortage of secondary school places by submitting plans to open a free school ready for pupils to start in September next year.
The Saracens High School Free School Trust has teamed up with Ashmole Academy in Southgate to submit an application to the Department of Education in March.
If they are successful, the free school is likely to be located in the Colindale area and will offer a six-class entry secondary school along with a further 180 year seven places.
The school, which will be run by a group of like-minded education and business professionals, will also be sponsored by Nigel Wray, Saracens chairman, and Nick Leslau, board member.
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The project’s directors claim they will provide an “outstanding” education to pupils and will “ensure that every pupil fulfils their potential academically and excels personally.”
Gordon Banks, Saracens community director, said: “Through the work of our own charity, the Saracens Sport Foundation, Saracens has demonstrated over 18 years that we are more than just a rugby club and we are committed to giving back to our community.
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“Probably the greatest gift you can give a young person is an outstanding education and we look forward to working in collaboration with other schools in the proximity to deliver this for our local children.
Free schools are independently run schools that receive funding from central government but are free from local authority control.
If the school gets the green light from the Education Secretary, Saracens directors say they will comply with Barnet borough council admissions criteria and will admit students with special education needs, children in care, siblings and those living closest to the school in that order of priority.
The school, which would undoubtedly look to foster sporting success in its pupils, will be held to “the highest” academic standards by Ashmole Academy, which has been rated “outstanding” by education watchdog Ofsted.
Derrick Brown, head teacher of Ashmole Academy, added: “We are delighted to be asked by Saracens to join them in providing a new outstanding secondary school where pupils achieve the highest standard of educational success.”
The Saracens free school trust has opened a consultation for prospective parents and residents living in the Colindale area to gauge their views and register their support at thesaracenshighschool.com.