Hackney New School push for parents to sign up

The team working to secure a new secondary school for Hackney youngsters is urging parents to come on board and express their support.

It is hoped Hackney New School would help meet demand for secondary school places in the borough, and if the “free” school’s application is approved by the Department for Education (DfE) it would open in September 2013.

Many pupils living in Hackney are forced to attend secondary schools outside the borough and the school hopes to be able to offer more of them the opportunity to obtain an excellent education in Hackney.

The ethos behind the school, which would have a music specialism, is to teach core subjects really well, driven by first-rate and committed teachers.

The steering committee has been working hard on the application and earmarked a potential site in De Beauvoir – but now they need as many parents to sign up before the application deadline of February 20.

“The more registrations of interest that we can get from parents the better for the application but by signing up parents are not actually committing to anything, just stating their support in principle for the idea of a really excellent new school in Hackney,” said Sophie Solomon, a violinist and composer who is on the steering committee.

They are looking for support from parents of children currently in Year 4 and Year 5.

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The school now has “Heroline of Hackney” Pauline Pearce on board as an advisor.

The 45-year old grandmother from Dalston, who got her nickname after she was filmed berating young yobs during last year’s riots, plans to help the school reach out to black and ethnic minority families in the recruitment drive.

Free schools were a centrepiece of the Conservatives’ election manifesto - the idea of local people setting up schools fitting in with its Big Society agenda – and since the Coalition came to power, 24 free schools have sprung up in England.

Similar to academies, free schools are semi-independent and outside of local authority control, funded directly by Westminster, with the freedom to vary the school day, terms, the curriculum and teachers’ pay and conditions.

The deadline for signing up is February 20, for more information visit www.hackneynewschool.org.