Parent promoters

In West Norwood, south London, parents are setting up a new secondary school, Elmcourt, which will open in 2007.

Sophia Yates is the project manager for the Parent Promoters Foundation, the organisation driving the plans for the school. She says that 10 children apply for every place at the local secondary school and that as a result the 500 local children end up going to 69 different secondary schools. “You just can’t get in locally. A lot of children travel to schools, some one and a half hours away. That is why everyone is so motivated to set up a new school,” she says.

There are 200 parents in the PPF. They are kept in touch via e-mail and newsletters. “Anybody whose child goes to one of the 13 feeder primary schools can be a parent promoter,” says Yates.
The project has been awarded £25m from the government’s Building Schools for the Future fund.

Yates’s nine-year-old daughter will be in the first year of intake at Elmcourt and her other two daughters will follow suit. It will be a non-selective school with a catchment area of about one mile.

Yates advises parents considering setting up a school: “You need the local education authority onside as they have to provide the land and the money.”

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