Durham’s first free school opens its doors

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YOUNGSTERS made history when they became the first pupils at a new free school.

Following three years of campaigning by parents and educationalists, The Durham Free School has opened to 30 Year 7 youngsters.

Unique to County Durham and one of the first in the region, the secondary school, which will grow as subsequent year groups join, has opened in the former Gilesgate Sports College building until a permanent site is found.

Parents wanted a new secondary school serving the south east of the city amid fears children in the area were missing out on high-quality education.

Headteacher Peter Cantley said: “It’s a tremendously exciting time for the children, parents, staff, governors and everyone involved with the Durham Free School, which will be a caring, nurturing, family-based school where every child will get a lot of attention.

“The vision is that we become an outstanding school in every way.”

Chairman of governors John Denning added: “We have got to know many of the children and their parents over time and to see them here in their uniforms is fantastic.”

Luke Douglas, 10, of Framwellgate Moor, said: “I’m excited, but a bit nervous. It’s not just a new school for me, it’s my first time in school since Year 1 as I’ve been home schooled.”