Parents and residents in bid to create a free school in the Gladstone Park area

Education institute will offer something different to children

Parents and residents are exploring the possibility of setting up a free school in a bid to ease the school places crisis and “offer something different” to children.

The school, which would be called Gladstone School, and based in the Gladstone Park area, is looking to gain support as it prepares to submit a bid to government.

Speaking to the Times, Richard O’Sullivan, one of the co-ordinators for the group, explained their reasons for pursuing the idea.

He said: “With rising class sizes this is going to hit schools hard. This area is lacking in close and available secondary schools unless you are willing to travel.”

The free school model can be controversial because it results in schools being run independently of the local authority. If successful with a bid they are able to set their own curriculum, have their own admissions policy and manage their own finances.

However, Mr O’Sullivan insisted the school would be welcoming to all, including those with Special Education Needs (SEN).

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He added: “We are not saying anything is wrong with our schools, but we want to offer something different.

“We want to engage young people by adopting a more practical approach and make it exciting again as it was in primary school.”

Plans must be submitted to the Department for Education (DfE) between December 17 and January 7, and a petition with 240 signatures is needed. The group currently has 28.

To find out more about Gladstone School go to