New Heyford Park free school gets go-ahead

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CHILDREN from the Bicester area will soon have the option to stay at the same school up to the age of 19 after plans were approved by the government last week.

The Heyford Park Free School in Upper Heyford is set to provide 840 places for pupils from the age of four upwards, with the first intake due to start in September 2013.

Only 10 new proposals to create the ‘all-through’ schools were given permission to proceed by education secretary Michael Gove on Friday.

Nathan Jones, governor for The Heyfordian School Trust, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with the decision; it’s a fantastic step forward for the local area and an important milestone for Heyford Park.”

He added: “Our local parents and residents have worked tirelessly to provide support for the school and we are confident that we will be able to provide the local community with the choice and opportunity that they want and need for their children.”

Parent Pam Cameron said: “The all-through education will offer local children the continuity between primary and secondary which many don’t have in this area, and the unique level of active parental involvement means we have a central role in shaping our children’s education.”

Each year will be split into two sets of 60 pupils.

The non-selective school will be funded by the taxpayer, but will be outside local authority control.

The school will set high academic targets but will also aim to build close links with the business community, to give pupils mentoring and vocational opportunities.

The school will be run by The Heyfordian School Trust, a charity made up of parents, residents, educational specialists, businesses, and Heyford Park owners The Dorchester Group.

The school will be housed in the Grade II-listed American Officers’ Mess building. Renovation work is due to start as soon as possible.

An open day will be held later this month at the free school, at a date to be confirmed. Visit for details.