Frequently Asked Questions

What is a free school? Free schools are independent, state-funded schools. They have the same legal status as academies.

Are free schools able to make a profit? No. Free schools can only be set up and run on a not-for-profit basis by a charitable Trust. The school will be run by the Headteacher and their leadership team and they will be answerable to a Board of Governors.

Where will the school be situated? The school plans to open in new purpose-built accommodation for the new communities being created at Brue Farm and Isleport in Highbridge, Burnham-on-Sea.

 When will the school open? The opening date will be agreed with the Department for Education and Somerset County Council following a successful application.

Which year groups will the school open with? The school plans to open with up to 60 Reception places. Intakes in additional year groups will be considered subject to local demand. There will also be a Nursery for 3-year olds.

Are free schools selective? No. All free schools have to follow the Admissions Code in the same way as all state-funded schools and our inclusive admissions policy will at all times be open, transparent and fair. We will be working closely with colleagues at the Department for Education and at the Local Authority throughout the admissions process. Children of all abilities, from all backgrounds, of all faiths and none, will be welcome to apply.

If the school opens, will that mean less money for the other schools in the area? No. Funding for free schools will be equivalent to the funding of maintained schools and academies in the same Local Authority area. The opening of a free school does not mean that the overall funding available in an area goes down. However, the total funding an individual school receives will depend on the number of pupils attending.

Will Wessex CofE Primary Academy be inspected by Ofsted? Yes. All free schools are subject to inspection in the same way as other academies and schools. The school will also be inspected by Ofsted prior to opening and will be subject to termly visits from the Department for Education during its first year.

Have you chosen a Headteacher for Wessex CofE Primary Academy? No. Once approved, we will be advertising this position nationally to attract the best candidates.

How will the school be accountable? The school will be run by a Board of Governors who will be accountable to the charitable Trust which oversees the school, the Wessex Learning Trust. In addition, the school will be accountable to the Secretary of State for Education through the terms of its Funding Agreement.

How can I show my support? As part of our application, we need to demonstrate the support of parents and the wider community for our plans.

To register your support, please complete the short form.