A visit to the Nottingham Free School website

Now that they’ve finally got a building, and it looks increasingly likely that NFS will be able to open in some form or other in September, we need to monitor their progress,  since nobody else will (remember, a ‘free school’ is only answerable to the DfE in London).

The first thing that strikes you when you click through the site is the photos, for, as any good PR person knows, a picture paints a thousand words. The images in the main are of happy, earnest children in the NFS uniform (a very practical light grey with light blue piping which screams ‘private school’) but, since there are currently no NFS pupils, who are the children in the pictures? Were they volunteers or paid  models?

There are a few members of staff – the Executive Headteacher, an anonymous ‘science teacher’ and a caring ‘pastoral’ teacher – and, again, one wonders who the latter two actually are.

And, what about the settings? Since these pictures have been up for a while, presumably none was taken in or around the Courtaulds building so, where is that science lesson taking place, where is the library and where are the leafy environs where the children are happily playing?

Of course, we are not accusing Torch of trying  to mislead by these staged pictures of pupils who are not pupils of NFS in surroundings that are not NFS. It’s just ‘artistic licence’, of course, which is nowhere in greater evidence than in the picture of the Courtaulds building, shown in classy black and white and, what’s this, they’ve already put up the Torch logo and NFS name above the door? Well, no, as they admit on their Facebook page, somebody’s been hard at work with Photoshop!

If you want to have a browse, here’s the link:

http://www.nottinghamfreeschool.co.uk/index.php

and, just to give yourself an incentive, see if you can find the inaccurate use of the word “complimented”. . (Picky? Well, they’re the ones who claim they’ll be an ‘excellent’ school – always check your work, we say!)

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Nottingham Free School announces site

After months of silence (the website hadn’t been updated since the end of November), ‘Torch’ has finally revealed the site for the NFS, which will be the Courtaulds building on Haydn Road. The Group now has less than six months to turn part of this building into a proper school with not just well-equipped classrooms, complete with interactive white-boards and so on, but also specialist teaching rooms : Science laboratories, Technology workshops, kitchens (for teaching), a gym. And what about outdoor sports facilities?

We know that money will be no object, as Michael Gove will be keen to fund this start-up, the first in Nottingham, but time is short. What will parents who have signed up and been very patient, make of the location? How soon before they can actually have a look inside: will they be happy with the resources available to teach their children? What will the children themselves make of it?

Finally, given that other offices will continue within the same building, are there ‘safeguarding’ issues to think about?

We maintain our position that, wherever the NFS is located and however well it is resourced, this is an unnecessary development that is costing tax-payers money that would have been better spent on existing schools.