A GROUP of parents are elated after winning the go-ahead for a Free School which will offer places to children from the Midhurst and Petworth area.
Helen Humphry, who has co-ordinated the plans, felt ‘delighted’ the Department for Education had rubber-stamped the parents’ proposals.
More than 900 parents registered in support of Chichester Free School, with a race now on to find a suitable site within the area.
The decision comes as its initial proposals last year were rejected, despite strong political backing.
“This is amazing news, it’s not quite sunk in yet that we have actually done this,” said Mrs Humphry.
“But it has been down to all the hard work of those who have helped with it.”
She added; “It’s such a positive thing for the area and we had so many people approach us and respond to our survey to find out how many people wanted the school.
“We will now be looking to the government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA) to find a site, so it will be funded by government.
“We are hoping to open for September 2013, with a smaller intake including Years 1, 3 and 7 before we open up the full age range of the school.
“The Chichester Free School, which will follow its own curriculum and be non-selective for its planned intake across the educational range of four to 19, is believed to be the first of its kind within the county catering for both primary and secondary pupils.
“Parents from across Chichester, Midhurst and Petworth and Bognor Regis will be able to apply to place their children there.”
Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie backed the original proposals put forward last year.
He believed the new school would offer greater choice for parents.
Mr Tyrie said: “This is great news. There is enormous support for this project, and I know that the Free School team has worked very hard to put together a successful bid.
“A lot of good can come from it.”
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