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Application submitted for new North Devon Steiner Academy free school

By NDJFran  |  Posted: January 24, 2014

An application has been submitted for what could be North Devon's second free school

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AN application has been formally submitted to the Department of Education for a new free school in North Devon.

If approved a Steiner Academy could be set up and ready to receive pupils as early as 2015.

Howard Cobb, marketing coordinator for Steiner Academy North Devon, said the group hoped to hear the outcome of its application within the next five or six weeks.

Nearly 400 people signed a list to say they would send their children to the Steiner Academy if it opened, and Mr Cobb said positive discussions had been held with nearby schools in relation to the proposal.

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The proposal has been put together in conjunction with Martin Whitlock, chairman of the Steiner Academy in Exeter, and Brett Parker, who is one of the governors there.

Mr Cobb said two sites in Barnstaple had been identified for the academy, but a final location would be decided by the Department of Education which will also stipulate what age range the school should accommodate.

“We can see the ages that are probably needed, but we are driven by the department,” he added. “We are proposing a year six, but if they say ‘we want a year seven’ we have to include that as well.”

Mr Cobb said feedback has been largely positive from other schools in relation to the proposal.

“It takes the pressure off the other schools,” he said.

“If they have got a healthy year seven with no more spaces and we are offering some then that would help everybody.

“We made sure we had a very close dialogue with anybody that wanted to talk to us about it so we can ensure we are not affecting other schools’ intake.”

The Steiner Academy would be North Devon’s second free school alongside Route 39 Academy in Clovelly. Mr Cobb said: “We watched Route 39 very closely but didn’t have any involvement with it.”

If approved, the next stage would be increased marketing, working on the academy’s website and securing a premises.

“We have been quite surprised at the strength of support,” said Mr Cobb.

“We have got a great team so we are confident we can get through to the next stage.”

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