Williton free school proposals criticised

Proposals for a free school for students up to the age of 16 in Somerset have been criticised by a college principal.

Danesfield Middle School in Williton wants to open the new school, which would be run by parents, teachers and charities.

West Somerset College in Minehead is the only school to offer education past the age of 13 in the area.

Its principal Nick Swann said he had concerns about the plans.

Mr Swann said he had two main concerns.

'Right to choose'

"One is whether this new free school is going to be good for West Somerset overall and the second is linked to the process they are using to bring this proposal about," he said.

"There are parents who are really worried because they don't feel they've got any information."

He said there was no need for another school because the college had surplus places, and added that a new school would also take away resources from the college.

Danesfield head teacher Ian Bradbury said: "We believe in choice and choice often drives up standards across the country.

"I think every parent has the right to choose where they want to send their child to school."

Free schools are run by independent education providers that are funded directly by central government.

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