Ever thought about setting up your own school? Woman from Ilford’s on a mission

PUBLISHED: 17:38 18 April 2013 | UPDATED: 19:41 18 April 2013

Sabrina Ben Salmi is holding a meeting to gauge the level of demand for a free school

Sabrina Ben Salmi is holding a meeting to gauge the level of demand for a free school


A woman who became frustrated with the education her children were receiving is planning to take drastic action – to set up a new school.

What are free schools?

• They can be set up by anyone: parents, teachers, business or charities

• Funded by central government, not under council control

• They have more control over what is taught, term dates and teacher contracts

• They cannot discriminate, admission cannot be based on academic merit

Sabrina Ben Salmi, 33, of Eton Road, Ilford has already helped found a school in Croydon under the government’s free schools scheme and is now looking to create one in Ilford for her own children to attend.

She is holding a meeting for anyone wishing to find out more and to gauge the level of demand for a new school among parents in the area.

Ms Ben Salmi said: “It’s basically at the beginning stages, so I’d like to see how much support there is from local parents.

“It’s about giving our children a better education. Some of the waiting lists in Redbridge are very long.”

She is one of six parents who received approval to set up a school in Croydon in partnership with the Harris Federation.

Their plan for Ilford is to create a single school catering for primary and secondary school pupils to open in 2015.

She said: “It’s an opportunity for parents to be involved in the primary stages of setting the school up and to get the best education for their children. I’m a parent myself so this is not an investment opportunity, I want to send my kids there as well.”

Something which Ms Ben Salmi is keen to see in the new school is a focus on encouraging entrepreneurial spirit.

“In that respect, China and India have a very high standard of education,” she said.

“Often our children have no practical experience, so they find it hard when entering the workforce.”

Ms Ben Salmi said she was keen for business representatives to come along and say what they want from the school. “In many schools, there’s no work done with local businesses,” she added.

“They should get involved and have a say in what they want from the future workforce. We want to work closely with them as well.” The meeting is on April 26 at Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford, starting at 6.30pm.

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