Activists in Nottinghamshire have been organising to fight proposed ‘free’ schools in Arnold and Trent Bridge. These are the brain-child of a successful local head teacher, John Tomasevic (right). He has taken Toot Hill School through from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘outstanding’ in OFSTED terms and on the way has supported another Nottinghamshire school that was struggling. All well and good but suddenly these two schools are ‘The Torch’ group and Mr Tomasevic is the Chief Executive, proposing the two new schools.
The so-called ‘Trent Bridge Free School’ seems to be the leading edge. Although no premises have been identified it does, bizarrely, have a website, complete with pictures of pupils in TBFS uniform. The area it is proposed to serve already has two ‘outstanding’ schools, both, as it happens, academies. There does seem to be a shortage of places but this could easily, and more economically, be addressed by expanding the current schools.
Torch have held some public meetings, fairly poorly attended and anti-academy campaigners who attended the meetings say Mr Tomasevic gave a mediocre account of himself. There has been discussion in the letters page of the Nottingham Post along with some reportage of the meetings and a short article by the man himself. In the most recent article (27 November) Mr Tomasevic claims to have had about 120 expressions of interest in each school and hopes to have about 180 by the end of the year so that he can apply to the DfE for the go-ahead. Check back here for further developments.