Christian ethos at heart of new free school bid
2:44pm Tue Jan 17, 2012
Revised plans for a free school in Newark were presented to parents as the team behind the bid prepares to resubmit its scheme to the Government.
Dozens of parents were at the Everyday Champions Centre, Brunel Drive, on Saturday to learn about the proposals for the Exemplar Academy.

Another meeting takes place tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6pm.

The proposals follow the failure of the group’s bid to set up the Everyday Champions Academy, which was turned down by the Department for Education amid concerns it would teach creationism.

The Everyday Champions Church is no longer sponsoring the bid. Exemplar would not have a designated faith status, but be based on a Christian ethos.

Other changes include a stronger focus on its business specialism and a new proposed location, on fields between Brunel Drive and Lincoln Road owned by Newark and Sherwood District Council.

The academy team is in talks with the council about using the land.

Mr Martin O’Connell, who led the presentations, said: “We will build on what was good about the original proposals, which we believe was most of it.

“The school will be run on Christian values and we are proud of that. There is a huge difference between Christian values and Christian theology, which is why the original bid was turned down.”

The pastor at the Everyday Champions Church, Mr Gareth Morgan, said the school ethos would be based on values such as discipline, honesty and respect, which were applicable regardless of faith or culture.

Mr Stuart O’Neil spoke about the business specialism. He is new to the team and is not a member of the church.

He is a director of Wilson Energy, based at the Newark Beacon business centre.

The school would provide GCSEs in all core subjects and would also offer the English Baccalaureate. It would not initially have a sixth form.

It would have a competitive environment, and extensive sports fields.

If the bid is successful, Exemplar would open in September, 2013.

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