Polam Hall School in Darlington is applying to become a state-funded independent school to enable it to share its outstanding offering to all.
The school, which provides first class education for girls and boys aged four to 19, is applying to the Department for Education to become a Free School from September 2015.
Free Schools are state-funded independent schools and the change would mean that Polam Hall could offer its highly regarded pastoral care, teaching and confidence-boosting extracurricular activities to all without fees being charged.
However, the school, which has long championed progressive, non-selective education, will remain on its current 19-acre site on Grange Road.
Chair of governors Sally Pelham, said: “By opening our doors to all, regardless of ability to pay, we are honouring the life-enhancing vision of education set out by our founders. We are deeply committed to giving young people in Darlington a real choice, with our all-through education from four to 19.”
Headmaster John Moreland, added: “The young people that we welcome to Polam Hall are at the heart of everything we do. We want to give them confidence for life, with our ethos of genuine pastoral support and care, and our exciting curriculum, outstanding drama, music and art, and long tradition for outward-bound and sport.”
Local politicians and business leaders are also backing the school’s move to open up its offering to all, regardless of their ability to pay.
Alasdair MacConachie, chairman of the Darlington Partnership, said: “I am delighted that Polam Hall is opening its doors to young people across Darlington and the rest of the region. We warmly welcome their partnership.”
Polam Hall was founded by Quakers in the nineteenth century and is the oldest school in continuous existence in Darlington.
The school has a proud history of close support for each child, developing resilience and character, promoting creative thinking and community values.
It also has a reputation as a centre of excellence in science and maths, music and the arts and believes this success would be continued as a Free School.
Polam Hall has a tradition as a boarding school and will continue to offer 60 boarding places, while it will have a wide catchment area as a Free School, with pupils coming from all parts of Darlington and the wider DL postcode area.
The school will also join one of the most impressive school partnerships in the UK, with Darlington having the highest proportion of academies in the country.
Open days for prospective parents and pupils interested in learning more about Polam Hall as a Free School are being held on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th October – with an evening presentation taking place on Tuesday 15th October.
As well as presentations from the headmaster and the chair of governors there will be opportunities to speak to teaching staff and current pupils.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to view the impressive school grounds and facilities as well as sample the academic subjects.
To express an interest in Polam Hall as a Free School or request a brochure please contact the admissions officer, Mrs Jane Craggs, at email@example.com or visit the website: www.polamhall.com
Polam Hall School is holding Open Days for prospective parents on the following dates and times: Friday the 11th of October at 9.30 – 11.30 am and 2 – 4pm, Saturday the 12th of October at 10am – 12.30pm, and on Tuesday the 15th of October at 7 – 9pm.
Polam Hall School is also holding Open Days for current parents wishing to find out more, on the following days: Thursday the 10th of October Juniors at 3.45 – 4.45pm, L4 to L5 (year 7 – 9) at 5.30 – 6.30pm, and M5 to U6 (years 10 – 13) at 7 – 8pm, and on Wednesday the 16th of October at 7pm.