Trust shrugs off criticism of academy plan

PLANS for a new school in the Dearne Valley will go ahead, despite criticism from a local MP and education chiefs in three of South Yorkshire's borough's, those behind the move said yesterday.

The Three Valleys Independent Academy Trust has been set up to open a new secondary school in Manvers, Rotherham, under the Government's free school policy.

It has been given approval by education secretary Michael Gove to move ahead with its proposals and said its school, which will be free from council involvement but publicly funded, would be open next year.

John Healey the Labour MP for the area, has called into question the need for a new school in the area, where state schools are already undersubscribed, and called for further scrutiny of the proposal.

But yesterday a spokesman for the trust said: "Our objective is to create an 11-18 academy which is innovative and responsive to student and parental demands and we have the vision and determination to give a choice for parents and raise standards for all young people.

"Together we can create an academy which will engender pride, confidence and aspirations amongst both staff and students and work to produce one of the best schools in South Yorkshire.

"The timescale of the announcement now indicates that the opening of the school will be September 2012.

"We would like to thank all of those local people who have supported us in demonstrating the strength of local demand for this school and would like to repeat our invitation to local families to contact us if they see Three Valleys Independent Academy as a real option for their children's future education."