Government backs plan for new girls’ free school

Michael Gove has agreed to back the plans
Michael Gove has agreed to back the plans

Luton will have a new all-girls’ secondary school and sixth form after the Department for Education agreed to plans for its opening yesterday.

Luton Girls’ Academy will cater for 840 pupils between the ages of 11 and 18 and is pencilled in to open next September.

Teachers behind the project first sent an application to the DfE in January and after interviews have been told that the government will back the free school.

The Herald & Post can reveal that currently the school does not have a site, with “a number” of areas being looked at.

The bid team, led by teacher Saiqat Liaqat, is working with the Education Funding Agency to identify the most suitable site for the school.
Ms Liaqat is currently the assistant headteacher of Highlands School in Enfield, an institute that gained an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating in April.

The DfE has confirmed the school will follow the national curriculum with a focus on enterprise education.
Luton Girls’ Academy will also have an extended school day and school year, which is allowed by way of freedoms given to academies.

A DfE spokeswoman said: “While academic excellence and high aspirations are fundamental to the group’s vision, there will also be an emphasis on character building and citizenship.

“The girls attending the school will experience and learn about participation, empowerment, collaborative working and problem solving.”

A statement from the bid team confirmed the application had been made due to rising demand for school places in the town. 
It added: “The statistics from the DfE show that the school population is growing in Luton.

“We feel that the creation of Luton Girls’ Academy will help take some of this burden off the local authority. 
“Luton Girls’ Academy will create more choice for parents and our initial and strong feedback is that a school is more than welcome and needed to raise standards for girls in Luton.

“We do realise that creating an Academy will impact other local schools.

“However, we believe healthy competition will encourage other schools to improve and innovate to drive up standards locally. This can only benefit the children in Luton.”