Bidders revealed in education shake-up

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A PRIVATE girls’ school, a Jewish primary and a charity which runs parent child groups are among the groups bidding to open their own free schools next year.

The Government deadline for groups wanting to launch their own schools passed yesterday with the Department for Education expected to announce the successful bids later this year.

Among those applying from Yorkshire are the Girl’s Grammar at Bradford, a private school which has been open since 1875. It plans to remain as a co-educational primary school and all-girls senior school.

There are also plans for a state-funded Steiner School in Leeds. The school would be linked to Steiner Waldorf international schools movement which has 31 schools across the country including an independent one in York where parents negotiate fees based on what they can afford.

Steiner School aims to provide children with an “unhurried and creative learning environment.” The Leeds Steiner School would be mixed ability for pupils from four to 16. Helen Pearson, the proposed chairman of governors said: “Our evidence of demand is particularly strong. ”

The school plans to open with just over 100 pupils across four years groups, rising to 338 pupils as a through-age school.

The group say the only reason there is not already a Steiner school in Leeds is because the “vast majority of parents in the city cannot afford independent education”.

There have also been plans submitted for a free school for Jewish children in Leeds. Up to 100 children currently travel to Manchester for faith-based education. The plan is to extend the Brodetsky Jewish Primary School in Alwoodley into a through age school.

Another free school bid planning to open in 2013 is the Free School Leeds which has teamed up with one of the country’s first free schools in Norwich and plans to be open 51 weeks of the year.