A NEW 900-pupil high school for Bolton has been given the official green light by the Department of Education.

And long-awaited proposals for Radcliffe's new high school have also been endorsed by Whitehall.

The Kings Leadership Academy in Great Lever was one of 21 anticipated free schools being unveiled by the Department of Education today.

Star Academies will run the Radcliffe venture, an idea which has received cross-party support in the town. The site of the former Riverside School has been suggested as a possible home.

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Blueprints for the Kings school, on land close to Freshfield Avenue and Great Lever and Farnworth golf course, were approved, subject to a call-in by the Communities Secretary, by the borough's planning committee yesterday.

The bid was for greenbelt land, which has led to some opposition, but the applicants cited 'very special circumstances' for allowing the approach.

An academy has been operating at the former Hayward School site since 2019 and has two school years, with capacity to increase up to three school years.

For the initial opening, it had 173 children on its roll and the school’s ethos was to ‘give young people in Great Lever the opportunity to experience all the benefits of a public school education without the hefty price tag’.

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Further work to rebuild portions of Fred Longworth High in Tyldesley and St Thomas CE Primary in Leigh, two of 50 such projects nationwide, have also been confirmed by the government as part of a £1bn programme.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "Today we are launching the first phase of our ambitious new schools programme, with 50 rebuilds and 21 new free schools.

“The rebuilding projects are just the start of our major 10-year programme, transforming hundreds of schools and improving the education of tens of thousands of children.

"Alongside this, over 15,500 children will now benefit from 21 new free schools across the country as we look to build back better after the pandemic .

“I am determined to get all children back into education as soon as possible, and will make sure we do not let the pandemic stand in the way of giving every young person the opportunity to succeed, progress and fulfil their potential.”

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