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Free school boost for Brandon

16:49 22 June 2011

A group hoping to open a free school in Brandon have been singled out by education secretary 
Michael Gove for their efforts.

Breckland Middle School is set to close in July next year following a move by Suffolk County Council from three-tier to two-tier schooling. But members of the Save Breckland School (SABRES) group, which campaigned for several years to keep the school open, submitted an application to turn the building into a free school.

They are now some way through the process and hope to open in September next year.

On Monday, speaking at the Policy Exchange, a think tank designed to promote and develop new policy ideas, Mr Gove said the group was a perfect example of why a free school could benefit some communities.

“Satisfying local demand is about more than the macro-level argument of basic need,” he said.

“On a human level, it’s about meeting parents’ desire for a good local school – a school that’s easy to get to, that feels like part of the community.

“Unsurprisingly, a number of applications come either from community groups trying to save a beloved local school or start one in a hitherto neglected area. Like Stour Valley Community School in Suffolk, or the SABRES group in Breckland, where parents’ Save our School campaigns are protecting the ideal of great community education.”

In a letter received from education minister Michael Gove earlier this year, SABRES was granted permission was granted to proceed to the last stage of application and put forward a business case on which a final decision will be made. This is expected in a few months. The group is also focusing on securing an “education provider” which will help deliver the school alongside SABRES.

Publicity officer Alicia Rickards-Ottevanger said: “Being mentioned in the speech was so exciting.

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