New school for 420 children in Norwich

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith. - Credit: Archant

Norwich is set to have a brand new school after the government announced the creation of the St Clements Hill Primary Academy.

It is set to become the city's seventh free school - one of the government's flagship education policies which sees groups such as parents, charities or businessmen set up schools that are independent of the county council.

It was one of 31 new free schools across England announced by David Cameron as one of his last acts as prime minister.

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said: 'I'm pleased to see additional primary school capacity in the north Norwich area, which has been needed.

'I wish the new school well, both in terms of the new team of staff, and pupils and parents who will have great hopes of a good education there.'

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The school will be run by the Right for Success trust, which is based at Eaton Hall Specialist Academy, on Pettus Road.

It currently has four other schools - Edith Cavell Primary, Tuckswood Academy, Stalham Academy and Sewell Park College - and is due to take on Sprowston High School when it becomes an academy in September.

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Nobody from Right for Success was available yesterday to comment on the new free school, but the Department for Education said St Clements Hill Primary Academy would be for children aged three to 11, with 60 reception places, growing to a full capacity of 420 pupils.

In its annual Local Growth and Investment Plan, which looks at the supply of places for children, Norfolk County Council said: 'In the short term, pressure continues to the north of Norwich and in Sprowston for reception places.'

Roger Smith, chairman of the Children's Services Committee at Norfolk County Council said he wished the new school 'good luck', but said the creation of free schools by the government can make the council's role in planning where new school places are needed more difficult.

He said: 'They can pop up and don't feature on our school place planning. The county council has responsibility for school place planning, and have done that by looking at population growth and location and catchments, but free schools can just pop up and escape that analysis.

'It can help with place planning, or it could mean we have schools that are under occupied.'

Norwich was home to one of the first free schools in the country, with the Free School Norwich in Surrey Street opening in 2011. It was rated 'good' in all areas after Ofsted inspectors visited it two years later.

The Charles Darwin Primary School, a free school which the Inspiration Trust is due to open in September, will be housed in former office space on Rose Lane, near Norwich railway station.

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