THE doors will open to Greater Manchester’s first free school in Atherton tomorrow.

Atherton Community School is one of only 79 Government flagship free schools to open from this year.

Free schools are state funded but independent of local authorities.

The launch of the free school follows an ongoing fight involving residents and Wigan Council over plans to close Hesketh Fletcher CE High School and leave Atherton without secondary school provision.

It is planned that Atherton Community School will grow to cater for 450 pupils, and also have a sixth form for 200 students.

The school will link with Winstanley College and Fred Longworth High School.

Elizabeth Haddock has been appointed as the new headteacher.