Free school plan ‘too secretive’

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PLANS for a free school in Rotherham remain shrouded in secrecy - with civil servants refusing to give even basic details on the proposals, according to the town’s MP.

Supporters are hoping to open the Rotherham Central Free School on the site of a former B&Q store close to the Centenary Way roundabout next autumn.

The plans - supported by potential patron Chuckle Brother Barry Elliott - were given official approval by ministers in October, despite objections by the town council.

In charge of the scheme is teacher and former Tory parliamentary candidate Charlotte Blencowe.

Rotherham MP Denis MacShane has submitted four separate requests under the Freedom of Information Act in an attempt to find out more about the project, but all have been rejected.

Mr MacShane is seeking evidence of demand for the school, more details about the premises and information on what public consultations have taken place.

He said: “Premises for the school are still unconfirmed, no local stakeholders have been consulted on the proposals, and all this for a school supposedly opening in September.”

But Ms Blencowe has insisted that many parents back the plans, saying pupils in the town deserved a better deal.