Coastal Free School project launches in Mablethorpe and gets MP’s backing

MP Victoria Atkins chaired the public meeting in Mablethorpe on Friday evening.

MP Victoria Atkins chaired the public meeting in Mablethorpe on Friday evening.

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MP Victoria Atkins has pledged to do all she can to save secondary education in Mablethorpe by backing a project to provide the town with a Coastal Free School.

A public meeting was held on Friday evening for the benefit of parents and residents, giving them the chance to find out more information on how a free school would take shape.

The move comes after it was decided to close down the Mablethorpe site of Monks Dyke Tennyson College.

The Coastal Free School Project group intends to provide children in Mablethorpe and the surrounding areas with a ‘first class secondary education, fit for the 21st century’.

The school would be the first of its kind to open in the area and the project group are working hard to gain community support.

Ms Atkins, who is also patron of the Coastal Free School Project group, chaired the meeting.

She said: “I am absolutely determined to try and keep secondary education in Mablethorpe. A teacher came to speak to me after the decision was announced to close down the Mablethorpe site of Monks Dyke Tennyson College. She poured her heart out to me and explained how much of an impact losing the secondary school would have on the town.

“This really hit home for me in terms of wanting to get involved and it is a privilege to be working on this exciting project. It’s about building up Mablethorpe’s future.”

Members of the Coastal Free School Project group have been working hard to ensure, if the bid is accepted by the Department for Education, that the Coastal Free School would have a proposed opening date of September 2018.

The group will find out if their bid has been successful by November 2016.

Those behind the bid want to open the free school on a three-form entry, initially just for just year seven pupils.

They intend to then expand the range of year groups, which they hope will even lead to a post-16 offer.

There are also talks of a setting out a six-term academic year that caters to work alongside the coast’s busy summer season.

Chris Flanagan from the Coastal Free School Project group said: “Friday’s public meeting was our launch of our Coastal Free School Project.

“We are all working hard to put a bid together ready to submit this year and we truly believe we can do this.

“Now we just need the backing of the community to make this happen.

“We will be setting up a number of meetings with parents at community hubs and local primary schools to get our message out there.”

Free schools are funded by the Government but are not run by local councils.

They are run on a not-for-profit basis and can be set up by groups like: charities, universities, independent schools, community and faith groups, teachers, parents, and businesses.

Mr Flanagan spoke of the vision for the free school.

He said: “This school aims to offer a first class education where we want every child to be successful and this school will not leave any single child behind.”

Leader of East Lindsey District Council Coun Craig Leyland attended the meeting and offered his support towards the project.

At the meeting, he said: “I have always been impressed by the resilience of Mablethorpe and measure how well they have dealt with challenges in the past.

“I believe the project will work and would be great for future economic development.

“We as a council will support it in any way we can.”

1 If you would like to learn more about the Coastal Free School Project or want to get involved yourself, write to info@coastalfreeschool.org.uk or visit coastalfreeschool.org.uk

Alternatively, you can call Chris Flanagan on 07846 800315.