PARENTS, residents and teachers today announced that a formal application has been submitted for a new secondary Free School in north Hampshire.

The application has been sent to the Department for Education to create a new facility which would cover Basingstoke and Deane, Hart district and the borough of Rushmoor.

With the plans now submitted to the government, the next stage is for the group campaigning for the new school will be to attend an interview with the Department for Education.

If the application is successful, the Free School is likely to open in 2021.

North East Hampshire MP Ranil Jayawardena has been one of the driving forces behind the campaign and handed over the application to the department.

He said: “I care passionately about education and will never stop fighting for improvements, whether that is a new Free School for the future, or the additional £3.5 million per year I helped win for North East Hampshire schools—a fairer share of government funding for our primary and secondary schools.

“Free Schools help enliven educational ecosystems and punch above their weight in Ofsted and progress ratings, so I will continue to call for one to come to our area to help drive up standards further, provide real parental choice and deliver new places in our growing area.”

Sigrun Olafsdottir, chief operating officer of new schools network, said: “The application process to set up a Free School is extremely rigorous and time consuming, so it is a testament to Ranil and his team’s hard work that they have reached this stage.

“This is particularly true in this round of free school applications, which explicitly targets areas of greatest need.

“There are over 700 Free Schools open or approved to open, creating more than 400,000 new school places when full.

They are the top performing type of state school at key stages 1, 4 and 5. They are also more likely to be rated Outstanding by Ofsted.”

To find out more about the application or to be part of the campaign, visit: