Free school gets go-ahead as government approves Riverside Primary

More than 600 school places will be created in the borough after a new free school was given the go-ahead by the government.

Riverside Primary School was among 17 free schools across London approved by education secretary Nicky Morgan on September 30, creating 14,000 new places for pupils.

The new facility will cater to children aged four to 11 with lessons due to get underway in September next year.

Together with Riverside Secondary School, a mixed comprehensive that opened in 2012, and a special school due to open next year, the primary school will make up part of the “riverside campus”.

Mr Morgan said: “We are giving thousands more parents a choice of high-quality local schools that offer the excellent standard of education that all pupils deserve.

“I am pleased to see how free schools are collaborating and supporting other nearby schools – and now 17 more of them will help even more young people in London fulfil their potential.”

FFree schools are state-funded but independent of local council control. They are not obliged to follow the national curriculum and can set the length of the school term and daySupporters claim this gives them the freedom to innovate, respond directly to the needs of parents and drives standard raising through competition with other schools.

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But detractors say they have been shown to widened the gap between the rich and poor. There are also fears that certain free schools – in particular those linked with a faith – will not teach a broad and balanced curriculum.

Riverside Primary School will be partnered by Warren Junior School, deemed highly successful by the Department for Education, and will offer a “rich and varied” curriculum including classical studies and confidence building.