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    At a time when church attendance is reducing, they are turning to schools as an opportunity to recruit (brainwash) members for the future. It's a worrying trend that should be resisted (no matter what flavour of religion involved)."
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Interest in Southampton's proposed Hope Community free school rockets

Interest in proposed free school rockets

Interest in proposed free school rockets

First published in Education Hampshire Chronicle: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

MORE than 100 families have registered their interest in sending their children to Southampton’s first mainstream Free School – before the bid has even been submitted.

As revealed by the Daily Echo, plans have been unveiled for the Hope Community primary school in Southampton – making it the first in the area to be set up independently with direct funding from central government.

The Hope Community School bid is being led by members of the City Life church, part of the New Community church network who have put together the proposal for a one-form entry primary school to cater for children aged from four to 11 in the city centre.

A series of information events have been staged since the idea was first mooted earlier this year, with a number of families backing the idea.

According to those behind the bid, more than 100 parents have said they would be interested in sending their children to the new school.

Local bid leader, Dave Barclay, said: “Our team of volunteers have been meeting people across the city and talking about Hope Community School. “People are enthusiastic about the prospect of more primary school places in the city centre.

“I am excited to be in a position to bid for a primary school right where it’s needed.”

The bid is being put together in response to council figures that show a lack of school places in the city centre SO14 postcode to accommodate the number of school-aged children in the coming years.

According to the projected figures based on birth rates in the city, there will be 71 children who live in the city centre in 2015/16 who will not have a place locally. A year later that rises to 119.

The council is currently consulting on expanding schools in the east of the city to cater for the extra numbers.

The team has to submit their bid for the school, which initially would be based at Central Hall, to the Department for Education by next month.

More information about the bid is available at

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