Chichester Free School set to open doors

Head teacher Guy Guy Martyn and project manager and founder  Helen Humphry'''Picture by Louise Adams C131221-5 Chi Free School.
Head teacher Guy Guy Martyn and project manager and founder Helen Humphry'''Picture by Louise Adams C131221-5 Chi Free School.

After months of planning, Chichester Free School will welcome 210 new primary and secondary-age pupils on Monday.

After months of planning, Chichester Free School will welcome 210 new primary and secondary-age pupils on Monday.

With builders and decorators finishing fixtures, fitting and car parks this week, the pressure is on for organisers to be ready in time – but they have assured parents it will happen.

“The furniture will be arriving this week,” said Helen Humphry, project leader. “The technology will be arriving too.”

New head teacher Guy Martyn was confident everything will be in place for the big day.

“We are all excited and focused on making the vision for the school a reality,” he said

“We want a school where we nurture, challenge and inspire in everything we do, and we do so to build the character of our pupils.

“We hope the reality of the foundation of Chichester Free School will create real, bright futures for all our pupils.”

For the first two years the school will be based at its temporary site in Vinnetrow Business Park, Runcton, to the south of Chichester.

Mr Martyn said all the children will be trained to use iPads, which he explained could be used for plenty of educational purposes, ‘not just games’.

Planning permission was waved through by Chichester District Council planning committee in July, despite residents’ objections to the suitability of the site – especially traffic concerns.

“Parents are dedicated to our car-sharing scheme. We even have minibuses coming from Selsey and Bognor,” added Mrs Humphry.

During the planning application process organisers said they would not allow cars onto the site unless they had more than one pupil.

“It will be difficult with reception age children – parents want to make sure their children are safe,” said Mr Martyn.

The free school has been a popular idea with parents from the outset: 500 applications were received for just 210 places.

“Our parents are very important to us,” said Mr Martyn. “They are a key part of the school.”

Chichester will join 12 other free schools in the south east opening their doors this month.