Free school to ‘give uniforms away’

PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS.'Dr. Bulvinder Michael wants to set up an Academy in Chorley
PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS.'Dr. Bulvinder Michael wants to set up an Academy in Chorley

Bosses at a proposed new purpose-built free school in Chorley are planning a uniform give-away for pupils.

But would-be Year Seven students wanting to take advantage of the offer must sign up within the next couple of weeks.

The controversial Chorley Career and Sixth Form Academy is due to open in September, and the new uniform has been chosen by pupils who have already enrolled and is now being produced for an open day event in June. The academy says the free uniform offer will honour its commitment to help disadvantaged children.

The Gill Academy Trust is planning to set up the school, despite a lot of opposition from other secondary schools in the area, who say it will mean vital funds are diverted from them.

Lancashire County Council also said, during a consultation period for the Department for Education, that a need for the school has not been established.

It will initially be located in temporary accommodation in the former tax office in Water Street, while a modern purpose-built school is built.

Principal designate Dr Bulvinder Michael said: “We wanted a uniform that made a strong statement about the kind of school the academy is.

“The uniform is smart and business-like as we will be preparing our students for the future, whatever path they choose to take.”

Avis Gilmore, regional secretary for the National Union of Teachers, said: “Free schools have to have a commitment from a certain number of parents before the DfE can consider it and it is very telling what this gimmick seems to be suggesting, offering free uniforms to attract parents to the school.

“Thank goodness the majority of parents in the area understand the need for a planned education system are well served locally.”

They say the new uniform will include a grey business jacket and grey jumper with purple trim for boys, and the same with black trousers or a pleated skirt for girls.