Frome Free School rejection to be appealed against

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A group of parents who had their proposal for a free school in Somerset rejected have said they will appeal against the decision.

Frome Free School was going to be based on "forest education", specialising in understanding the environment.

The Department for Education (DfE) said the application lacked expertise, student progression and pupil demand.

Guy Wilson, who submitted the proposal, said he would re-apply in 2013 if the appeal is lost.

The DfE praised Mr Wilson's plans, but said some "key areas" in the application were not as strong as other applications.

'Over-subscribed'

It raised concerns about staffing and how it would cover the curriculum for different age groups, and said it lacked "curriculum expertise".

Pupil progression within the school was also unclear, it said, and there were some concerns about the demand for the school.

Mr Wilson said: "We know that many Frome parents and children will be disappointed that our opening may now have to be delayed.

"Due to the pioneering and challenging nature of our educational approach, we feel that the government has required more of us than of other free school applicants."

Mr Wilson said the parents of about 550 children had expressed an interest in the school and about 160 had intended to apply for the first 50 places.

"With the school already over-subscribed, we also question what further evidence of demand the government expects," he said.

A parent writing on the Frome Free School website under the username Jempa73, said: "This is such a shame, FFS would be such a perfect school for my children, in fact I'm a bit lost now."

The Meadow Steiner School in Bruton, which also applied to the government as part of a separate project, has been invited to attend an interview to further outline its plans.

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