What is a Free School?

Free Schools are independent, state-funded schools. They have the same legal status as academies. Free schools can only be set up and run on a not-for-profit basis by charitable trusts, such as a multi-academy trust.

Why is Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust proposing to open a secondary free school in Thurrock?

Estimates of the number of pupils at secondary level across the authority show that new schools are required to meet the need. In addition, the Trust’s only current secondary school in Thurrock is significantly oversubscribed and is, therefore, unable to offer places to all applicants.

The Trust is working actively with Thurrock Council and the Department for Education (DfE) to establish a new free school to meet the demand due to increased numbers and the high demand for Trust schools.

How many pupils will the school have and what age group will it cover?

It is anticipated that it will open with four forms of entry (i.e. 120 pupil places) beginning with 11 year olds (year 7). However, as it becomes established it will provide for 180 pupils in each year for 11 to 16 year olds.

When will the school open?

Thames Park Secondary School will open in temporary accommodation in September 2020.

Where will the school be located?

The school will open on a temporary site in South East Essex College from September 2020. Whilst in this accommodation a new school will be built on a site next to Palmers College.

Will the school curriculum be the same as St Clere's Secondary School?

The free school application to the DfE was based on it largely replicating the provisions at St Clere’s School. However, the curriculum will be tailored to reflect the characteristics of the pupils that are expected to attend. Thames Park’s core objective will be to ensure improved educational outcomes in the area.

The school will deliver a balanced academic curriculum with an emphasis on maths, while sports will feature strongly.

How will the school ensure high standards of behaviour and personal development amongst the pupils?

The development of the school, as part of Osborne Co-operative Academy Trust, will be based on the co-operative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equity and solidarity. Through these values pupils will be taught that their behaviour is their responsibility and they should take ownership of their own learning.

How will I be able to keep up to date with progress?

Our website and social media will be updated as new information is available. You can also join our mailing list to receive email updates.

How can I apply for my child to join the school?

You can find details about how to apply on our Admission page.

Will the school uniform be the same as St Clere's Secondary School?

The school will have its own uniform. However, it is likely to be in a similar style to St Clere’s School.

How will the school be held to account?

The school will be run by a Head of School, supported by a leadership team and managed by the Trust’s Executive Head for secondary schools. This will ensure that the characteristics of St Clere’s School which are popular with parents and pupils are reproduced in Thames Park Secondary School.

Trust schools have their own governing body which will be responsible to the Trust Board for governance and education standards.

Before the school is given final approval to open it will need to go through a readiness to open process with the DfE. This will include inspection by Ofsted. Once operational, as with all schools, it will be subject to the normal Ofsted inspection process.