Funding delight for Leigh’s free school

Principal Designate Elizabeth Haddock and Chapel Street CEO Russell Rook and chair Baroness Sherlock signing the funding agreement for Atherton Community School
Principal Designate Elizabeth Haddock and Chapel Street CEO Russell Rook and chair Baroness Sherlock signing the funding agreement for Atherton Community School

ATHERTON’S new free school will definitely open this autumn after the Government agreed on its funding package.

Atherton Community School, which is sponsored by charity Chapel Street, will welcome its first pupils into a temporary site at Atherton Town Hall in September after signing the funding agreement with the Department for Education.

The school, which is the only example of Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove’s flagship free schools programme currently being built in the area, will move into refurbished buildings on the site of the old Hesketh Fletcher High School at the end of its first year.

The school will further expand to start its own Sixth Form in 2013.

Principal Designate Elizabeth Haddock said: “Over the past few months, our school set up team have been working hard to get ready

for the school’s opening this September.

“News of our funding agreement is the final step in this process and we know that the pupils and families that have chosen Atherton

Community School will be delighted about this news.”

Atherton Community School’s prospective pupils also took a step closer to their first term with a series of taster days which enabled them to meet their teachers and sample what learning will be like at the new school.

The youngsters were also given a tour of the LSV by Leigh Centurions CEO Trevor Barton, who has supported the bid to bring a free school to Atherton, and were given branded rugby shirts.

Chapel Street CEO Russell Rook said: “In recent months, we have worked with a wonderful team of people in

Atherton, along with the Department for Education to establish this new school.

“We are thrilled that the final piece of the jigsaw is now in place and look forward to serving children and families into the future.

“We also want to congratulate the local community who have worked so hard for so long to see this ambition achieved.”

Pupil places at the new school are still available for this September, and applications for teaching posts are also still being taken.

For more information visit www.athertoncommunityschool.com