MP has plan to safeguard future of Norwich school

A Norwich school facing an uncertain future after council bosses decided not to award it a contract to educate troubled youngsters, should consider becoming a Free School, a city MP has said.

Future Education, based in Motum Road in Earlham, has given academic schooling, including the chance to study for GCSEs and BTECs, to some of the most challenging children in Norwich, those with emotional and behavioural difficulties and/or a statement of special educational need.

But a panel at Norfolk County Council withdrew the academic contract, while the school also missed out on tendering for a vocational contract to a national provider. While the county council has pledged to find the funds so students who have just finished year 10 are able to finish their GCSEs and BTECs at the school, the longer-term future of the independent school looks uncertain.

And Norwich South MP Simon Wright, who visited Future Education again this week, said the way forward could be for the school to apply for the government's Free School programme.

Those schools, of which the city boasts one of the first in the country with the Free School Norwich in Surrey Street, are funded directly by the government and set up in response to what local people say they want and need in their community. Liberal Democrat Mr Wright said: 'I've discussed the idea with the school. There are no guarantees, but I suspect ministers will be interested in extending Free School status to specialist schools.'

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