New Suffolk free school prepares to open its doors to pupils

Final preparations are underway for the opening of a new free school in west Suffolk.

The former Breckland Middle School in Brandon will reopen as IES Breckland next week - a secondary school operated by a Swedish company.

Staff at the free school held the first in a series of induction days for new pupils today ahead of its opening on Monday morning.

Sherry Zand, IES Breckland principal, said the school was still a building a site. However, workmen and staff were working round the clock to ensure it was ready for its first lessons.

A total of 212 year 7, 8 and 9 pupils will start at the secondary school following the closure of Breckland Middle School in July as a result of a move from a three tier educational system in Suffolk to a two tier one.

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The UK branch of Swedish firm Internationella Engelska Skolan (IES) was awarded a �21m contract by the government to open a free school for 11 to 16-year-olds on the site earlier this year following a campaign led by the community-run educational trust - Sabres (Save Breckland School).

Ms Zand said the induction days on the school field involved team building exercises with help from personnel from RAF Lakenheath and meetings with mentors.

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The preparations come as education secretary Michael Gove praised IES Breckland in the Commons this week following a question from West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock.

Mr Gove welcomed the school's opening as 'good news from West Suffolk'.

Mr Hancock added: 'It means that there will be secondary education in Brandon thanks to the free school programme, which there would not have been without it. It provides a local future for the schooling of people in Brandon.'

A fresh coat of paint, new flooring and a spruced up entrance hall are some of the changes being made at the school and students have already picked up their new uniforms.

The school is holding open days on October 8, 9, 11 and 12 October.

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