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Issue 337 – Frome’s first free school given the green light

A free school, the first of its kind in Frome – and the first for Somerset, has been given the green light by the Department of Education.

Frome Steiner Academy, which plans to open in September 2012, is planned for the old hospital site on Park Road in Frome and will accommodate up to 640 pupils by 2015.
Free schools, whereby local individuals and groups set up their own schools, have been promoted by the government as part of its ‘Big Society’ initiative. Proposals were also put forward by another group for their own Frome free school which was turned down, and they will re-apply next year.
The Steiner proposal team attended an interview with the Department of Education in early August and were told that their application was successful on Monday 10th of October.
Guy Marson, who heads up the proposal team said, “We are absolutely delighted to have been approved by the Department of Education.
“There were 280 proposals from all across the country applying to the DoE. These were whittled down to 130 at the interview process, with a total of 55 given the go ahead.
“We are very proud to be the only school in Somerset to have got through, it’s a huge county, so it does feel like a massive sense of achievement.
“Our next step is to secure the site. NHS Somerset, who own the old hospital site, have expressed interest that they would like to sell the site for use as the Steiner School. They have been brilliant every step of the way and hope this process goes smoothly,” said Guy Marson. “We have been assigned a representative from the Department of Education who will now help us take our plans forward and go through the process of delivering the school by 2012.”
The Steiner school will initially open with 130 pupils up to the age of eight. With the school already four times over-subscribed in terms of vested interest, it is hoped that by 2015, the school will accommodate 640 pupils.
Steiner schools have an ethos of taking account of the whole needs of each child and one of its focus areas is the promotion of artistic activity and development of imagination.
• Frome Steiner Academy is looking for a principal; applicants should email