As many of you already know, the New Generation Schools Trust has been given the green light by the Department for Education to open Southampton’s first mainstream Free School in September 2016. Hope Community School will be not-for-profit and state-funded, and will accept Primary school pupils. Although the school will be designated as of religious character, it will be open to and inclusive of people of any or no faith, and is being created to meet the needs of the local community.
Update on the Plans
Plans to open the school are progressing well under the direction of Project Director Mary Rouse, of the new Generation Schools Trust, and this is an exciting time for the project.
A Family Liaison Coordinator has just been appointed to work two days a week, in order to recruit families for the new school. Claire Rodgers will be organising community events and activities that will help create engagement with local people and lead to connections with prospective parents. The aim is to recruit 60 children to start at the school in September 2016 when it first opens.
Progress has also been made in identifying a site for the school. The plan is for the school to run in fully equipped temporary accommodation to start with, and then for a brand new school to be built at a later date as the number of pupils grows. Several sites in the SO14 area of Southampton, including some land opportunities, are currently being considered, and internal viewings of preferred sites have already taken place.
The trust is also looking to appoint a Principal for the school, who will start in January 2016. Recruitment for this role is planned to begin in June this year.
As plans progress for Hope Community School, please pray particularly for:
- Mary Rouse in her role as the Project Director, with all that this involves.
- Claire Rodgers as she takes up her new role as the Family Liaison Coordinator, that she would easily make connections with prospective parents and other people in the local community.
- Progress in the challenge of recruiting 60 children for 2016, through organised events and activities.
- Location of the right site for the school, and that discussions with land and building owners will result in prompt, positive outcomes.
- Preparations to recruit a Principal for the school later this year.