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Campaign to stop Burnley's first free school launched
A CAMPAIGN against Burnley's first proposed free school has been launched by a council and union members.
As the end of the consultation period for the proposed Burnley High School approaches, concerns are now being voiced.
Faith groups, teachers and also representatives of major teaching unions, have joined with Burnley Council to oppose the plan The proposed school, which could open with as few as 60 pupils next September, at a projected cost of £5million, would be funded from a budget currently allocated to existing schools and colleges in the town.
Campaigners say they are protecting local schools as free schools in Blackburn have caused traditional schools to suffer.
NUT executive officer Simon Jones said: “Burnley must learn from the mistakes that Blackburn with Darwen has made on this issue where the introduction of five free schools has had a devastating effect on primary and secondary school provision.
“It has also severely limited the choices available to parents and children hoping to receive a high quality, community based education.”
Multi-faith organisation Building Bridges Group is also opposing the plans being proposed by Chapel Street Schools Trust.
Representative Bea Foster said: “If this proposal is not opposed, resources will be taken away from the majority of children in Burnley to fund a tiny minority.”
Robert Waring, from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “The harsh reality is that at a time when parents and children are being encouraged to make such an important decision about their 11 year olds’ educational future, this proposed school has no guarantee of funding, no confirmed site, a curriculum yet to be decided upon and teachers yet to be appointed.”
Burnley Council leader Julie Cooper said: ' It would be nonsense to divert £5million away from existing school budgets, placing them in real jeopardy, “ Chapel Street CEO, Dr Russell Rook said: “As with any other school, Burnley High School will receive government funding.
“So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The school is attractive to those families who are looking for a school that is smaller and uses personal coaching. We welcome families of all faiths and no faith.”
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