Chichester Free School offer letters bring joy

Project leader Helen Humphry with her first new recruit Henry Barnes holding his application form for the new school.''C121425-1 Chi Free School  Photo Louise Adams
Project leader Helen Humphry with her first new recruit Henry Barnes holding his application form for the new school.''C121425-1 Chi Free School Photo Louise Adams

PARENTS of 210 children around the Chichester area are celebrating their luck after receiving offer letters from Chichester Free School.

The free school received 450 applications, but only 210 pupils could be accepted for entry in September this year.

Kate Brooks, from Chichester, said: “We have got places in Year 1 and Year 7 and we are absolutely delighted. Obviously there is a lot to do before everyone starts in September, but we felt any risk was so worth it, especially due to the lack of choice for us at secondary level.

“There are many disappointed parents of children that didn’t get places but I think that reflects how sought-after a place is.”

Helen Humphry, project leader, was pleased with the number of applications.

“We have had an overwhelming response,” she said.

“It has been fantastic, and shows real support for the free school.

“There has been a lot of disappointment and if I had been able to give everyone a place, I would’ve done.

“The places were randomly allocated, which makes it very fair to everyone, no matter where they live.”

The school does not have a catchment area, and welcomes children from Chichester and the surrounding areas.

“We are giving all children the same chance,” said Helen.

“Instead of having a waiting list, we have a waiting pool. This means you can’t allocate a child a place by the amount of time they have been on the list.”

But Amanda Bond, from Chichester, said: “This is such a shame the people who would be most willing to help and to be a part of the community of the school are not getting the places for their children!”

The school will open with Years 1,3,7 and 8, and those behind it aim to reach capacity with 1,170 pupils in 2019.

Organisers have a temporary site in mind for the school, with hopes a planning application will be submitted within the next couple of weeks.