A NEW free school has set up base – but still has no confirmed location ahead of its planned opening in September.

Durham Free School has set up offices at Harewood House, on Bowburn North Business Park, in Bowburn, near Durham City.

But an announcement from the Education Funding Agency on the school’s permanent location is not expected until next month.

A spokeswoman said: “The location of the school has not yet been confirmed but several possible permanent sites, in the South and East of Durham City, are currently being assessed and an announcement is expected next month.”

Teachers are still to be appointed but the new headteacher, Peter Cantley, and some support staff have moved in at Bowburn.

Previously, Mr Cantley said he wanted the school to be on a site which would provide excellent teaching facilities and was reasonably close to sports fields and easily accessible.

The free school campaign was launched by families to the South-East of Durham City who have struggled to get their children into the oversubscribed Durham Johnston School.

The school will open for the next academic year, initially with around 60 year seven pupils.

It will begin with three teachers before expanding by one year group each academic year to an 11 to 18 school and sixth form with up to 840 students.

Mr Cantley, a former Department for Education official and deputy head, said: “The Durham Free School will endeavour to embody all that is best about small, caring, nurturing and supportive schools.

“The ethos the school intends to develop is summed up in our vision statement: our aim is to provide a distinctive and inclusive education shaped by Christian principles and welcoming to all.

“We firmly believe that students from all backgrounds can excel and the school will create a culture of success which will be reflected in the excellent qualifications the students obtain, both academic and vocational.”

Families are invited to apply for places now online at durhamfreeschool.org

Free schools are directly funded by and responsible to the Government, bypassing local authorities.