Wymondham College could set up new primary free school with boarders

Wymondham College

Wymondham College - Credit: Archant

A brand-new primary school that includes boarders could be coming to Norfolk after Wymondham College announced it was considering launching a bid to set up an innovative free school.

New Wymondham College principal Jonathan Taylor

New Wymondham College principal Jonathan Taylor - Credit: Archant

If approved, the 420-pupil school would be only the second state-funded mainstream primary in England that offers residential places for some of its children.

The college has started a consultation with parents and the community about the plans, which would see 30 pupils in Years 5 and 6 - the oldest age groups - have boarding places.

Taxpayers would fund the day provision at the proposed school, but parents would have to pay for boarding, as they currently do at the college.

Asked who was likely to fill the boarding places, college principal Jonathan Taylor said: 'I would anticipate it being very similar in profile to the boarding provision we have in the college, with a good proportion likely to be from Norfolk, and seeking boarding for the benefits it offers, but also a proportion supported by the Ministry of Defence, and some from slightly further afield.'

He said the college had not yet considered whether pupils at the proposed free school would have priority for places at the college, but added: 'I think there would have to be a progression route, certainly for the boarders.'

The college could formally apply for government permission to set up the free school - a new state-funded school that is independent of the council - by the end of September, and Mr Taylor said it could open in September 2019 at the earliest.

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The college's website said it could be located 'on or near the present Wymondham College site' or in the wider Wymondham/Hethersett/Cringleford area.

It added: 'The school would promote an enthusiasm for academic learning and self-discipline together with individual creativity and social awareness.'

If approved, it would become the second primary school sponsored by the Sapientia Education Trust, which Wymondham College set up earlier this year, and which is due to take over Old Buckenham Primary School tomorrow.

What do you think about these proposals? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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