New secondary “free school” is in the pipeline for Hackney

Application for a new free school hopes to help meet demand for secondary school places in the borough

A new secondary “free school” aiming to deliver an outstanding education for children in Hackney is in the pipeline.

A team of educational experts and residents are preparing an application for Hackney New School - which if approved by the Department for Education (DfE) would open in September 2013.

The school’s central vision is to provide students with access to the widest range of opportunities in life, by fostering academic excellence and instilling self-belief, intellectual curiosity and responsibility towards others in society.

A significant number of pupils living in Hackney currently 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 school will teach the core subjects really well, driven by first-rate and committed teachers, and have a music specialism.

A number of potential sites across Hackney have already been identified.

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They are now looking for as much support as they can muster from volunteers, teachers and parents as well as potential sponsors.

“The more parental support we can demonstrate by February 2012 when the application is submitted, the more likely it is that our application is successful,” said Andreas Wesemann, who lives in Dalston and dreamed up the idea.

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.

Since the website launched this week, offers of support have flooded in from interested parents.

“Living in De Beauvoir, on the border between Hackney and Islington, the choice for schools is very limited and so far we’ve had to look to Islington for our daughter’s primary school,” said one mother.

“We would be over the moon if we could send our children to a secondary school in Hackney, our beloved borough.”

A decision on whether to fund the school and sixth form will be made by the DfE by next summer.

For more information, to register an interest or to get involved, see