Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
In 2010 the government announced plans to build new free schools around the country. So far more than 400 free schools have opened or been approved, and the government’s 2015 manifesto pledged to open 500 nationally by 2020.
What are free schools?
Free schools are a type of academy funded by government but they are not run by local councils. They are ‘all ability’ schools and are subject to the same School Admissions Code as all other State-funded schools. Like other types of academy, free schools are governed by non-profit charitable trusts that sign funding agreements with the Secretary of State for Education.
Where will the new school be?
The Diocese will only bid to open a free school where there is demonstrated need due to new housing and growth in pupil numbers. The decision on exactly where the new schools will be located rests with the Department for Education working with Norfolk County Council. Their decision is based on where there is need for more pupil places and they work with the housing developer to secure an appropriate site within new developments.
Who will run the new school?
The Diocese of Norwich is looking to bid to become a ‘sponsor’ or “education provider" of the new planned school.
Who are the Diocese of Norwich?
The Diocese of Norwich is the Church of England across the areas of Norfolk and Waveney — a Christian presence serving every community through a family of 650 churches and 110 schools and academies.
The Diocese of Norwich serves over a hundred Church Schools and Academies – almost a quarter of the primary schools in Norfolk and Waveney – and over 16,000 pupils. We work alongside headteachers and governors, helping them make their school an inspirational place to learn, with a Christian ethos.
Our spiritual and pastoral care extends to all parts of the community. We support children, young people and families through a wealth of resources – from mobile playgroups to youth work cafés. We also provide training and support for youth and family workers, and 1,800 volunteers who work alongside them.
Why is the Diocese of Norwich applying?
The Church of England has always been involved with education. The Church of England started providing free education to local children over 200 years ago and 50 years before the state. In Norfolk and Waveney we support and serve more than half of Norfolk's small schools and serve a quarter of the young people - some 16,674 young people in total (as at September 2016).
In 2013 the Diocese formed a Multi Academy Trust (the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust) which now has thirty church schools within it. This has allowed us to further develop our resources to support school improvement, governance and the distinctive nature of church schools.
We believe that our approach to running schools is not only successful in terms of academic standards but provides an all-round experience preparing children for their next steps in life. Our commitment to schooling based on the Christian values of service, love and valuing every individual as a child of God make our schools dynamic, exciting places to learn and grow where faith is taken seriously.
When will you know if your application for the new school has been successful?
We don’t know exactly yet as we are waiting for new guidance from the Department for Education on timescales. We are planning to have our application ready by the end of April. The decision as to whether we have been successful is likely to be in the autumn term 2017.
When will the new school open?
It takes a long time to build a new school and there are a number of administrative processes, such as planning permission, to complete. We think the very earliest a new primary school could open is September 2019, but that also depends on whether there are enough children in the area needing a school place at that time. The actual date has to be agreed with the Department for Education as part of the process.
How big will the schools be?
A new primary school will have two classes in each year group with a maximum of 30 children per class i.e. 60 pupils per year group. This means there is capacity for 420 pupils from reception to year 6.
Can my child get a place at one of the new schools?
Admissions to any of the new schools has to follow the law, known as the Admissions Code of Practice. Any school run by the Diocese of Norwich would be open to children of all faith backgrounds and beliefs.