Parents group Route 39 has ‘strong’ application for new secondary school.

PARENTS have submitted a bid for a new 500-place secondary school in North Devon between Welcombe and Bucks Cross.

The parent-led group, Route 39, submitted its application for a “Free School” to the Department for Education at the end of last month.

They say the school, which would include a sixth form, will offer high standards of education and intends to give students “the skills and qualifications they need to be thriving young adults and sought after employees.”

Free schools are similar to academies, funded directly from Westminster and free to set their own curriculum, teachers’ pay and most aspects of how the school is run.

Route 39 says it has been told by the New Schools Network – the charity set up by the Government to work with Free School groups – that its application is strong.

“This piece of news – together with the fact that more than 450 local families have signed up to the proposal – has been a great encouragement to the Route 39 team who’ve spent more than a year developing the application,” said a spokesperson.

“This year more than 300 applications for Free Schools have been submitted to the DfE. Nearly half of these are located in London and the South East.

“Route 39 is determined this Free School investment – worth millions of pounds – comes to this community and the education of our children.”

The group is keen to recruit people interested in joining the pre-opening committee and would particularly welcome those with project management, business and legal skills.

Interviews with Government officials take place in May and if successful, it is hoped the school can be up and running by 2013.

Anyone who would like to offer their skills can contact education@route39.uk or parents can register their support for the scheme www.route39.org.uk.