Free School for Earls Court

A consultation has opened on the establishment of a Primary Free School as part of the Earls Court regeneration.

The West London Free School Charitable Trust (WLFS Charitable Trust) has been given the green light by the Department for Education to open a third school in September next year. That school will be called Earl’s Court Free School Primary, though it will initially be based in Cambridge Grove in Hammersmith, the current home of sister school, West London Free School Primary. The trust also has a secondary school in Hammersmith – the first school it opened in 2011.

Subject to planning approval and consultation, the new primary school will move to Earl’s Court, as part of the regeneration and redevelopment of the area, where it would become a two-form entry primary. This would not be until 2020 when the multi-million pound redevelopment of Earl’s Court is complete.

Thirty children each year will be accepted to the reception class until the school relocates to Earls Court, when the entry numbers would double to 60 children a year. As with the other WLFS schools, it will provide children with a “classical liberal education”.

The current schools run by WLFS Charitable Trust are both heavily oversubscribed – for  the 2013 entry, 394 children applied for 60 places in the primary school, while 1,179 applied for one of 120 places in the secondary school.

Toby Young, chairman of  WLFS Charitable Trust, says: “I helped set up the West London Free School because I believe that all children should have access to a classical liberal education, regardless of background or ability. That approach has proved so popular with local parents that my group is now opening a third school and our aim is to open a new one every year for as long as there is demand for this type of school from parents.”

Councillor Georgie Cooney, Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s cabinet member for education, says: “We welcome the suggestion for another free school and continue to offer our support to parents wanting to set up schools or those who opt to send their children to these new schools.

“With new housing and development coming to Earl’s Court, there will also be a growing population and greater demand for places in the area in the future. A new school will help address this issue while offering local parents more choice for their children’s education.”

Councillor Emma Will, Kensington and Chelsea Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “This new primary school is just one of the many positive aspects of the redevelopment of Earl’s Court. Demand for primary school places in the area is set to grow and it helps to give local parents even more choice on where to educate their children.”

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