Free school boost for Brandon

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.”

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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.