Bristol Free School opens doors to pupils

Government building in Brentry, Bristol The building has previously housed the Environment Agency and Defra

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The largest secondary free school in England has opened its doors to pupils.

Bristol Free School, located at the former Environment Agency building on Burghill Road in Brentry, is one of 24 to open in England on Monday.

Pupils arrived for lessons in five mobile classrooms earlier. A former conference centre will act as an assembly hall.

Free schools are funded directly by the government and run by groups including parents, charities and faith groups.

A group of parents, called Parents Voice, is behind the Bristol plan. PE lessons are to be temporarily held at the David Lloyd gym in Southmead.

The school is due to move to a permanent location in September 2012.

It wanted to move on to the same site as the former St Ursula's School, in Westbury-on-Trym, now known as Brecon Road Academy.

But in a letter to parents, the chair of governors, Blair King, said the move to Brecon Road would be expensive.

Mr King said the free school's preference was for an eventual move to Brecon Road but that the Department for Education favoured the former government offices.

A decision on the final location is expected by the end of the month.

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