Gove gives the thumbs up to Active Luton free school
PLANS to create a free school on the site of Bath Road swimming pool have today been given the go-ahead by education secretary Michael Gove.
Riverbank Primary School, which will be run by Active Luton, the trust that runs sport services on behalf of Luton Borough Council, is now set to open in 2013.
It was one of 102 new free schools announced by the government today.
When Active Luton’s plans were announced earlier this year, chief executive Helen Barnett said the school would have a “broad balanced curriculum with a strong emphasis on physical activity, health and wellbeing”.
When the Luton News spoke to Ms Barnett in January, she said the idea for the free school had come from the extensive education programme already run by the trust with schools across Luton, and the urgent need for extra primary school places in the town.
“Four years ago we did a huge amount of work with Foxdell Junior School to see how PE and sport could improve academic standards, “ she said.
“Behaviour, attendance and SATS results improved, and when the latest government came in and introduced the concept of free schools it was very interesting.
“Luton is increasingly short of primary school places and we thought, ‘This is something we could be involved in.’”
Ms Barnett said Active Luton found that demand for school places was highest in the Biscot ward, and that this was also an area where health inequalities and issues such as obesity meant life expectancy was lower.
The trust also had the swimming pool site, which closed on May 20, at its disposal.
The school will initially open with just the reception year group, and then add a further year group each year.
For Active Luton’s application to the government to be successful, it had to show that it could fill at least half of the school’s places in the first two years.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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