Hackney free school eyes sites at London Fields

THE PROPOSED Hackney free school that has become a favourite of the Government a year before its planned opening says it has decided on one of two buildings, both close to London Fields, pictured

It has found a “brilliant” headteacher, Lesley Falconer. A head for years, she was latterly at St Teresa’s, an independent boarding school in Effingham, Surrey.

Free schools are State-funded but set up and run by parents, teachers or charities free of council interference.

Phillippa De’Ath, of the Hackney New School (HNS) steering committee, said that the head had “decades of experience in leadership in outstanding schools in the state and independent sector”.

Phillippa De'Ath Hackney New School 2011 © Esra Turk
De’Ath: You can meet the headteacher

De’Ath told Loving Dalston: “The school will be open to everyone, and has been shaped with input from children, parents and many other local representatives, including primary school head teachers and community leaders. We are open for admissions to Year 7, and have received a number of applications.”

With an emphasis on music, the free, mixed-ability and non-denominational secondary school is due to open in September 2013. Its student day will be long, starting at 7.30am and ending no earlier than 5pm. A summer school will be held during the summer vacation period.

Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier has raised concern about the use of taxpayers’ money on free schools, telling Loving Dalston: “I am anxious that all schools in Hackney have strong finances and good quality premises. I still have not been able to see the budget for Hackney New School.

“We need to ensure that all publicly funded schools are accountable to taxpayers. This secrecy is not helpful.”

Free schools are strongly associated with Education Secretary Michael Gove. Apart from HNS, he has given the go-ahead to  Stem Academy, for 16 to 19-year-olds, to open in Shoreditch; and The Olive, a faith school in Hackney.

* The new head is to attend the HNS open day at Our Lady and St Joseph Primary SchoolBuckingham Road, De Beauvoir N1 4DG, on Sat 20 Oct 2012 at 2pm.


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