NORTH Cestrian Grammar School in Altrincham has submitted its bid for Free School status to the Department for Education.

A decision is expected in September this year and, if successful, the new status will take effect from September 2015, enabling the school to open the doors to non-fee paying students.

Lee Bergin, headmaster at North Cestrian Grammar School, said: “We have a strong bid and have demonstrated evidence of demand, capacity, capability and the excellent educational package on offer here.

“There is a need for a Free School and we are able to provide that as a school which is already up and running. There’s a lot of local support from parents in the Trafford area and we look forward to hearing the outcome of the bid, which the government is now carefully considering.”

Jerry Sutton, the Vicar of St Margaret’s Church on Dunham Road said: “We would welcome North Cestrian Grammar School becoming a Free School. North Cestrian has a long established and unique position in Altrincham.”

But the decision by NCGS to apply for Free school status has proved highly controversial among Trafford’s secondary school headteachers.

An open letter was signed by 10 heads from the north and south of the borough and said headteachers were concerned about the financial costs involved in the proposed change in status.

Free School status will enable North Cestrian to set its own extended curriculum, term dates and length of school day. Its governing body will oversee and operate the school, but pupils will not have to sit an entrance exam.

Open Days will take place at NCGS on September 20 from 10am to 2pm; October 8 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm and the 6th Form Open Evening will be held on November 19 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Subs Submitted pic in SAM News Pictured left to rght are Patsy Radcliffe, bursar, Lee Bergin, headmaster, Andy Brown, pastoral director and deputy head Matthew Bell.