Second bid to open Raynes Park free school
Parents hoping to open a free school in Raynes Park next year have returned with new plans after their first attempt was turned down by the Government.
They now hope to open the Raynes Park Christian School in September 2013, but still need approval for the project after a 2012 bid was knocked back.
Ioannis Dekas - a father of four who is on the steering group behind the bid - said more effort had been made to reach out to the community, and plans to give an admissions preference to churchgoing children had been dropped.
Mr Dekas - a minister at the Doxa Deo Christian church, which is attended by many parents involved in the plans - said: "We've harnessed the strength and support of a lot of local partners."
Free schools can be set up by parents and charities and are more independent of the government than traditional schools.
Mr Dekas said the school, which would be free to attend, would be community focused and have a Christian ethos - but admissions criteria would be the same for children of all faiths and none. The preferred site for the school has not been announced, but is thought to be between Motspur Park and Raynes Park stations.
Mr Dekas said parents involved in education, IT, marketing and the financial sector had pooled their talents to help launch the bid after struggling to find places for their children at oversubscribed schools in the area.
He said: "We have had barriers and challenges but we've been able to dig our way through that mountain... We've proved ourselves capable."
He said the school would have a particular focus on sport, music and foreign languages. He also said it would start with two reception classes and a single year one class, with two more classes joining at the reception stage until it reached its 400-pupil capacity.
The steering group must submit plans to the Government by February 24, but would not get the final go ahead for the project until much later this year.