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What is a Free School?

A Free School is an independent, state-funded school. Free Schools are similar to Academies, in that they are funded by government but not controlled by it, and just like other schools, Free Schools are regulated and inspected by Ofsted, with their exam results published in league tables.

What does Free School mean? Does it mean ‘non-paying’?

Yes. A Free School is a government name for a new type of state-funded school.

How are Free Schools funded?

Direct from central government, according to the number of pupils and other factors. The money comes straight to the school and it is not top-sliced by local government.

Why set up Bullers Wood School for Boys Free School?

There will be a significant increase in the need for school places in the borough in the years ahead; this has been verified by Local Authority projections. It will alleviate the pressure on existing schools.

There is only one comprehensive secondary boys’ school locally and one mixed comprehensive school compared to 2 comprehensive schools for girls plus an independent selective school for girls.

Bullers Wood School for Boys will be a thriving comprehensive school providing an academic education for boys. At the outset it will meet the needs of this area by providing a greater choice for parents (single sex boys’ education). It will also allow for boys within the community to be educated within the borough of Bromley.

When will it open?

We are aiming to open in September 2018. This will mean boys in Year 6 during the academic year 2017/18 will be eligible for the first cohort. At full capacity it will be a school for 11 to 16 year olds; our boys would then be eligible to apply to our mixed Sixth Form.

What will be the key features of Bullers Wood School for Boys?

It will be a 6 form entry school, its initial point of entry will be Year 7. The aim will be:

  • To provide high quality teaching & learning experiences in a modern technologically rich environment within a culture of traditional values, courtesy & respect
  • To provide an academic education with an emphasis on the EBacc subjects and sport
  • To provide extensive extra-curricular opportunities beyond the academic curriculum so that boys can find their niche, experience success and develop self-confidence
  • To have an unremitting focus on learning and a genuine conviction that each boy can enjoy success and strive for excellence
  • To allow boys to excel and exceed their predicted educational outcomes
  • To create a strong and caring pastoral system that underpins and supports boys’ academic progress
  • To foster a ‘can-do’ culture in both staff and students

Being brand new, how will I as potential parent assess how good you will be?

No new school has a track record it can call upon, however it will be set up and run by staff and governors from Bullers Wood School for Girls. It will therefore be run by people with a track record of excellence. Bullers Wood School is rated Outstanding by Ofsted and has in each of the last three years received letters of congratulation from the Minister of State for Schools.

Will the curriculum be similar to that delivered by other state schools?

Yes our curriculum will use the National Curriculum as a starting point, but it will go much broader and deeper than that, and will provide the enrichment opportunities we offer every child in Bullers Wood School for Girls.

Will there be an entry test?

No. Applications are invited for boys of all backgrounds and abilities. Like all state schools, we accept applications from any parent, and if oversubscribed allocate places according to strict and fair criteria.

Where will Bullers Wood School for Boys be located?

We have identified a potential site on unused scrub land next to our playing fields, this should not impact on our existing sports fields. However, this is subject to planning.

Who pays to build the school?

The cost of building and fitting out the school will be met entirely by the Central Government, i.e. not by Bromley Council or the Girls’ school.

Will the school be built by September 2018?

It will not be possible to have the permanent buildings ready for September 2018. However, in common with many other Free Schools, we will open in temporary buildings in 2018.

Where will the temporary buildings be?

The temporary buildings will be on the proposed site for the school, St Hugh’s Playing Fields.

Will the boys use the facilities of the Girls’ school whilst they are in a temporary building?

The Boys school will be self-contained and time tabled lessons will take place on the temporary site. Until the New Build is complete, there may be occasions when the boys could use some of the facilities of the girls’ school.

Some extra-curricular and enrichment activities will be mixed e.g. Orchestra, Choir, Drama Club, and School Productions etc…

Will the Boys school affect the sporting facilities currently used by the Girls’ school?

No – St Hugh’s Playing Fields is a very large site, some of which is playing fields and some of which is scrubland. The girls currently use only part of the site, so the Boys school won’t have a material impact on their playing fields. There are also opportunities to enhance and increase the sports facilities for Girls on the girls’ school site.

Will the Boys school be run on the same lines as the Girls school?

Yes – very much so. We want to ensure that both schools have the same values and standards – high academic standards, outstanding behaviour and with a wide range of extra-curricular activities available.

Who will run Bullers Wood School for Boys?

The Governing Body will be setting up a Trust and will be responsible for Bullers Wood School for Boys (and Bullers Wood School for Girls). The Trust will run the School, which will have its own Headteacher, Anne Gouldthorpe who will lead the School on a day-to-day basis.

When will you appoint the teachers for the school?

We plan to appoint most teachers in the Spring term before opening, although a few may be appointed earlier. Anne Gouldthorpe, who is currently Senior Deputy Headteacher at the Girls School, has already been appointed as the Headteacher Designate of the Boys school. She will lead the recruitment process. Anne is currently working part-time on the Boys school and she will work full-time the closer we get to opening.

Staff will be recruited progressively until the School reaches its full capacity.

Will the Boys school have its own Governing Body?

Yes, the Boys school and the Girls school will have separate Governing Bodies. Both Governing Bodies will have parent representatives. They will form part of a Multi Academy Trust, which will be managed by a Board of Trustees. Both Governing Bodies will be represented on the Board of Trustees.