Faith-based free school emerges as plan B for Kingston parents
A faith-based free school has been proposed to help meet a school places shortfall in Kingston.
If approved by the department of education, King Edward the Martyr's School would be the borough’s first free school.
The non-selective, co-educational school would have a Christian character, but would be open to all regardless of faith, according to the bidders, and will be named in recognition of Kingston's royal heritage as the place where Saxon kings were crowned.
The foundation, which is directed by former councillors Kevin Davis and David Campanale, is in discussion with educational charity Woodard Schools who are considering working with the new school.
The charity, which was founded in 1847, form the largest group of independent Church of England schools in England and Wales and care for more than 30,000 young people.
Mr Campanale said: "We feel we are in a position to offer Kingston parents a very attractive secondary school.
"There will be no selection criteria and therefore we are looking to serve the immediate needs of parents.
"With local support, I believe our proposed school will prove a popular choice."
The foundation has written to the Education Funding Agency, which secures locations for free schools, to request they find suitable premises in the north of the borough.
Mr Campanale said the school size and other details would be dependent on what premises were offered and that the foundation will hold a public consultation into the matter.
The father-of-two, who is a leading member of the Christian People's Alliance party in Kingston, said: "We will need to fill the first forms of entry in the school, that’s the target, a three figure number.
"These are going to be parents who will value a faith-based secondary school education."
Kingston’s executive member for education councillor Liz Green said she could not comment on the free school proposal without knowing more details but said she would not rule out a free school as an alternative option.