Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire free school plans rejected

Parents trying to set up a free school in Lincoln for children with special educational needs have had their application rejected.

Lincolnshire County Council said the authority had enough provision for children with additional needs.

But Terese Lord, chair of the Lincolnshire Parent Carer Council, said parents of 115 children had already requested a place at the new school.

Free schools are similar to academies, free from local authority control.

They will be set up by groups of parents, teachers, charities, trusts, religious and voluntary groups, as academies and will be funded in the same way - directly from central government, with the first opening in September 2011.

Existing capacity

Ms Lord, who has two autistic children, said the Department for Education had rejected the proposal as "minimum criteria" had not been met.

"The support we need [from the county council] is simply that the local authority will administer statements so they send children to the new school, that is all we need, that administration," said Ms Lord.

Although the schools do not need county council approval, they do need fundamental support from local authorities which can prevent an application from progressing.

Lincolnshire County Councillor Patricia Bradwell said: "We've got three special schools here at the moment and we've got capacity for children with additional needs at the Priory Academy so there would be no need for another school."

The Parent Carer Council must now decide whether to re-submit a free school application which would be for 2013.

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