Bideford Primary Academy will provide 420 places for school and nursery children

The Government has approved plans for a new free school in Bideford.

Bideford Primary Academy, proposed by Ventrus Multi Academy Trust will provide 420 primary school places and an additional 30 nursery berths.

The new school is likely to be in the west of the town to help accommodate development in Bideford and Northam.

The North Devon and Torridge Local Plan estimates an additional 1,475 primary school children will live in the area by 2031.

Ventrus's chief executive, Gary Chown, said housing development in the town means the new school is essential to accommodate new families moving to the area.

"This is excellent news for Bideford," he said.

"The announcement gives the Trust the necessary green light to proceed, which I'm extremely excited about.

"We have an excellent track record and expertise in setting up new schools, and we understand how important it is for them to be central to strong and vibrant communities.

"We're considering a number of sites to the west of the town near planned housing development."

The proposed mainstream school is one of more than 130 applications accepted nationwide by the Government as part of its Free Schools Programme.

Bideford Primary Academy is said to offer a full and varied curriculum including outdoor learning and Forest School Teaching, catering for all children regardless of their academic ability or background

It is also looking to provide full day care for children up to the age of two alongside nursery places.

Toby Young, Director of New Schools Network, an independent charity that provides support to groups wanting to set up free schools, said: "The application process to set up a free school is extremely rigorous so it is a testament to the Ventrus Multi Academy Trust's hard work that they have been approved to open."

Ventrus Multi Academy Trust, formerly the Primary Academies Trust, currently oversees 11 primary schools and one secondary school, including Pilton Community College and Orchard Vale in North Devon.