An independent Muslim faith school in Dewsbury has announced it has been given an interview with Government officials over its plans to convert into a state-funded free school
Paradise Primary Free School Trust expect to be interviewed by the Department for Education later this month and find out if they have been successful later this year.
Free schools are a key education reform of the coalition Government which is encouraging groups to set up schools from scratch where they can prove they have parental demand.
The trust says it has had more than 200 parents signed up so far. The plan is for a Muslim faith ethos school which would be open to children of all faiths and backgrounds.
It would open as a two-form entry primary school with 60 reception pupils in September next year.
Abdul Patel, the free school project manager said: “I am delighted that the Department for Education are keen to hear more about our proposals to convert into a free school in Dewsbury and look forward to discussing our proposal with them.
“I would like to thank all the parents and residents of Dewsbury who have backed our proposal. I would encourage others to show their support for the application by registering their interest on the schools website or contacting the team.”
The trust says it is confident that it will be able to secure a suitable local site for the free school.
It also hopes the free school will be at the centre of a new community hub in Dewsbury, where a range of children, youth and family programmes will be developed “to build community links and support local residents.”
Last year Paradise Primary said the plan to become state funded would allow the school to expand from having 240 pupils to around 400. School governor Najam Sheikh said at the time that the school would continue to follow the national curriculum but would also teach from an Islamic perspective.
The plan for it to convert to a free school has been given “support in principle” by Dewsbury’s Conservative MP Simon Reevell. He praised the discipline and the behaviour at the existing school where he said it was clear that pupils were enjoying themselves but teachers were in charge.