St Christopher's CE High School is one of over 80 groups of existing schools, teachers, parents, and charities that has been awarded a place on the New Schools Network's Development Programme this month. The Programme is designed to help groups that want to set up new free schools as they prepare to submit an application to the Department for Education (DfE).
To see the PowerPoint presentation delivered at the recent public information evening, please click HERE
The governing body of St Christopher's are supporting the application which proposes a new 11-19 special school to open in September 2018.  The new school will cater for pupils with special needs, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder and will ensure that parents are offered a range of quality provision.  The new school will build on the excellent educational practice already in evidence at St Christopher's. 
The New Schools Network Programme provides tailored support to free school groups as they work through the challenging application process demanded by the DfE. The charity looks for applicant groups that have the capacity and expertise to run a new school and will bring something new to their community. Historically, groups who have had support from New Schools Network are more likely to succeed in their applications.
 Nick Timothy, NSN's Director said:
"We are delighted to welcome St Christopher's on to our Development Programme this month and we look forward to working with them as they develop their plans in more detail and work with their local community to gather support for their proposed new school. There are now more than 430 free schools either opened or approved to open across England and once full they will provide 235,000 much needed new school places."  
Mr RD Jones, Headmaster of St Christopher's said:
"St Christopher's has worked hard over many years to secure an excellent reputation for educating young people from across the ability range.  I am delighted that our proposal to open a new special school will allow us to educate, support and guide a group of pupils with particular needs, allowing them to benefit from our expertise and the strong and clear ethos of a church school."
The NSN Development Programme (DP) has been running for over three years; more than 80% of those who have completed it have been invited to interview with the DfE. Support for each group is tailored to their needs and includes a dedicated NSN adviser, expert educational, financial and operational advice, and funding to help engagement with the community. The total package of support is equivalent to around £10,000 per group. NSN has worked with around 70% of free schools that have opened or been approved to open so far, supporting them as they develop their ideas and navigate the application process.
Further information can be obtained by contacting -
Mrs S Collier, Senior Assistant Headteacher
St Christopher's CE High School
Queens Road West
01254 232992
New Schools Network
NSN is a charity that aims to improve the quality of education in England by helping to get more free schools set up. NSN has worked with more than seventy per cent of the free schools that have opened or been approved. We want to help any group with a clear vision, a coherent education plan, a strong team and support from local parents to set up a free school.

Free schools
In many ways, free schools are just like any other maintained school.  They are free to attend, they do not charge and they do not make a profit.  
Setting up a free school is not easy.  Any group that wants to propose a free school must show they have the expertise and ability. They have to be being approved by Government by going through a rigorous applications process and show that they have support from local parents. Once open, free schools are closely regulated by the Department for Education both nationally and regionally and are inspected by Ofsted in the same way as any other school. 
  • St. Christopher's has significant expertise in working with learners with additional needs. 

  • Free Schools offer the opportunity to meet the needs of those for whom a mainstream KS3 or GCSE curriculum may not be appropriate, allowing learners to succeed and move towards adulthood with improved skills and confidence. 

  • Full integration of Education Health and Care Plan outcomes throughout the curriculum and detailed communication of the provision required to all members of staff ensures a greater focus on each learner's particular area of need.  

  • Pathways School and Sixth Form will offer an appropriate learning environment to those learners who are particularly sensitive to their surroundings; as well as staff who are aware of the need to build trusting, secure relationships in order to fulfil potential.    

  • Partnership with other agencies, including Speech and Language or Occupational Therapy for example, ensures the learner can access appropriate support and have therapies incorporated into their everyday curriculum, maximising chances of success. 

  • Smaller classes enable all leaners to have a voice; this significantly improves the child's sense of self-worth and allows for full development of personality and potential.  

  • The transition from primary school will be considerably less daunting for children due to key teaching staff being identified very early in the transition period.

  • Pathways can offer a 'mixed bag' of qualifications; if a learner has an aptitude towards a particular subject or subjects they are able to study these at GCSE level within St. Christopher's.

  • Key Stage 4 and 5 vocational curriculum focuses on learners building resilience, developing employability skills and building knowledge about wider issues in society, empowering them to become as self-sufficient as possible.  

  • The transition to further education, apprenticeship or employment will have a significantly higher chance of success due to detailed communication between all parties of a learner's ultimate goals, strengths, their needs, strategies and any support required.  

If you have any further comments, questions or queries please do not hesitate to write to:                                            
Clerk to Governors, St Christopher's CE High School. Queens Road West, Accrington, Lancashire BB5 4AY

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