Independent school will go ahead

PLANS to create an independent school and sixth form college in Wign Borough have been agreed.

Education Secretary Michael Gove says the application to create Atherton Community School as soon as September next year should proceed.

Over the last year, hundreds of local residents and community leaders have worked and campaigned for a new local secondary under the Government’s free school programme following the decision to close the under-subscribed Hesketh Fletcher High last term.

Members of Wigan Council’s ruling Labour group have given the project a resounding thumbs-down in the past, saying the proposals would have a detrimental effect on education in the borough. But authority chiefs were more diplomatic today, saying they would work with the school to ensure pupils achieved the highest standards.

A location for the new-build school - which would be funded by central government - has yet to be announced but the plan is for it to grow a student population of 450 secondary students and 200 sixth formers.

Wigan Council’s Deputy Leader, Coun David Molyneux, said: “We will work with the sponsors to ensure the school produces the highest standards and best possible outcomes for our children.”