NORTH Devon could have its second free school by 2015 if plans for a Steiner school for up to 600 pupils go ahead.
The proposal for the Steiner free school is currently being put together by a proposal committee who hope to submit their application to the Department of Education in January.
It would be the first Steiner school in the area and would be entirely state funded.
The school would cater for children aged 4-16 and is likely to be in the Barnstaple area although a definite location is yet to be decided.
Two members of the proposal committee include Brett Parker, who helped set up the Steiner Academy in Exeter which opened in September, and also Harriet Mullins who works at the Two-Rivers Steiner pre-school in Instow.
Mr Parker said the proposal survey is currently being undertaken which takes results both from an online survey and from written questionnaires.
He added: “Once we start getting enough responses it will be clear to see where the school is most needed.
“We suspect at this stage it will be somewhere to the west side of Barnstaple but at this stage we don’t know.”
The group hope to have more of an idea of the school’s location next month.
Mr Parker said: “The school will be available to everyone and will comprise of 400-600 students.”
Both Mr Parker and Ms Mullins are aware they may receive negative reaction to the proposal but they believe Steiner education is so unique and sought after many parents are desperate for a Steiner school to open in the area.
Mr Parker said: “We are offering a choice, we are not competing with local schools, we are different and we want to support the local education community.
“Steiner is very different type of education and we want to compliment the learning community with it.”
Ms Mullins said: “We have had parents saying “I wish we had Steiner in North Devon”. It is age appropriate learning and everything the child learns is backed up with activity.”
Mr Parker said an example of Steiner learning is if the child is learning about Roman roads they wouldn’t learn about it from books in the classroom or visit one they would actually attempt to build part of one.
Ms Mullins added: “There is no formal learning in their early learning, there is lots of creative learning.
“One criticism of Steiner is that it is not particularly academic but actually once the children are brought into formal learning at six and half they are much more prepared.”
The group has also been reassured by Devon County Council that projected growth with extra housing development in the area there will be the demand for extra school places, particularly by the time the school is up and running.
Once the proposal for the school is submitted in January the group then expect to invited to an interview with the Department of Education in the spring, if they are successful.
If the bid is accepted then the school could open in September 2015 with a kindergarten and Year 7.
To find out more about the school visit their website www.steineracademynorthdevon.org.uk or find them on Facebook.