International audience for new ‘free’ school in Clare

STOUR Valley Community School has attracted great media interest ever since it was announced it would be one of England’s first ‘free’ schools – but now its name has reached an even wider international audience after it featured on television.

The Clare school, which opened in September, was visited by a film crew and journalist from rolling international news channel France 24 for a feature on its magazine show called Focus – a programme similar to BBC’s Panorama.

The piece was shown on Monday, having been put back from its original transmission date of Tuesday, October 25, when the hot topic of the Euro zone debate instead took precedence.

Keith Haisman, chairman of the school’s governors and board of trustees, was initially contacted by the producers of the programme.

“They picked up on education in England from their UK office as a big thing and they came and filmed us and interviewed me and headteacher Chris Inchley,” he said.

“It was great for the children in the school to actually be part of something and realise creating a new school is not just a local thing. It is actually getting interest outside the UK and for French people to be buzzing around the school was really good.”

Mr Haisman said that the school was one of only four secondary free schools in the country, but its make-up was different to the others.

“If you looked at the West London school and the one in Bristol they have got a very different city story to tell and ours is a big community story,” he said.

“I think to create a school from a community and parents’ drive is clearly unique.”

Apart from interviewing Mr Haisman and Mrs Inchley, France 24, which is transmitted in Arabic, English and French to countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, took general shots around the school and filmed French teacher Alex Bourne as he taught a class.

For more information visit www.france24.com.