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Southwark Free School swaps SE1 for SE16

The group behind a 'free school' that planned to open in SE1 has announced that it has found premises in SE16.

The Southwark Free School was one of two free schools in the borough to be approved last year by education secretary Michael Gove.

The school, a mixed two form entry primary, has announced that it will open in September at 399 Rotherhithe New Road in SE16. The building, a former print works, has recently been used as a church. It is situated close to Old Kent Road.

A recent post on the school's Facebook page noted the difficulties that many inner-London free schools have encountered in finding suitable and affordable premises.

Now the Southwark Free School Trust has launched a six-week community consultation on its plans.

"The Southwark Free Schools Trust is committed to providing an outstanding new primary school in the borough," says chairman Patrick Shine.

"A school that will lie at the heart of the community where all children can benefit from a first class education.

"We have already received significant support and backing from many borough residents and families and we want to build on this.

"We want to create and continually develop a school that will benefit its pupils and their families as well as other schools, education providers and the wider community.

"We are keen for as many people as possible to get involved, let us know what they think, so that together we can make this a reality."

The trust is holding a number of public meetings to give people a chance to find out more and give their views about its vision for a new school in Bermondsey. The meetings at the Links Community Centre will be held on Friday 30 March, Tuesday 3 April and Wednesday 18 April.

SE16 could soon be home to a cluster of free schools. The Compass Schools Trust is planning a secondary school at Southwark College's Bermondsey campus and the group promoting a bilingual German-English primary school proposal says it is considering a site near Southwark Park.

• Find out more at www.southwarkfreeschool.com or call the trust on 07528 040233 to have a survey sent to you.

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