GREENWICH: French teachers plan to open new school on former Charlotte Turner site
TWO French teachers plan to set up their own school in Greenwich.
Gladys Delphin, 32, of Waterside Close, Thamesmead, and 38-year-old Semikian Konate, of Plumstead, say there are not enough school places in the borough and that exam results are not up to scratch.
They plan to set up their own non-selective school for around 650 five to 18-year-olds at the old Charlotte Turner School site in Benbow Street, Deptford.
Ms Delphin, who claims to have the support of 90 families, said: "We plan to teach the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB), which has a strong focus on modern languages.
"It would be the first state school in England to offer all three IB programmes – primary, middle years and sixth-form diploma. It is a highly respected qualification around the world."
Thanks to the Government's Free Schools Initiative, which is designed to "enable excellent teachers to create schools and improve standards for all children, regardless of their background", their dream looks set to be realised.
In fact prime minister David Cameron invited the pair to Downing Street three weeks ago to discuss the proposals along with other people interested in setting up free schools around the country.
Ms Delphin, who teaches French with Ms Konate at the Nouvelles Racines New Roots Saturday school in Thamesmead, said: "Unlike many other schools we would have class sizes of no more than 20.
“We live in a multicultural, multilingual environment. Many people speak languages other than English at home but often they are not receiving the tuition they need at school to make them really proficient.
"There are four Saturday schools for French mother-tongue speakers in south-east London, plus supplementary schools for children who speak other languages.
"This proves there is a demand for a more focused approach to teaching languages.”
The mother-of-two added: "Not enough pupils are getting A-C GCSEs in Greenwich and there are not enough school places in the area.
"We have an ambitious plan, but children from Greenwich and neighbouring boroughs deserve the best.”
A spokesman for Greenwich Council confirmed he was aware of the proposals and pointed out that last year 62 per cent of Greenwich pupils achieved five or more A* to C GCSEs.
The teachers are due to submit their application for funding to the Department for Education in the next few weeks.
For more information on the proposals, visit nouvellesracines.org.uk or email email@example.com
Susannah Hickling of King George Street, Greenwich, wants her six-year-old son, Joshua, to attend the new school.
The 49-year-old freelance journalist said: "For the first four years of Joshua's life he lived in France but when his dad died we came home to England.
"I don't want him to lose touch with his father's French culture and the language of his family.
"I want him to have the same opportunities as if he had stayed there."
She added: "The language teaching in this country is not as good as it should be.
"He goes to a French Saturday school but it would be good if he could get an excellent language qualification which was transferable across Europe."