Charity behind Big Issue plot free school to help Cheetham Hill’s children ‘fulfill their dreams’

The Big Issue’s parent company The Big Life Group is to set up a free school in the Cheetham Hill area next year.

Unity Community Primary will open in September 2015 with a reception, year one and two combined class, with 28 pupils in each class.

The Big Life Group are a collection of social businesses and charities that work to provide people with opportunities to change their lives.

Emma Perry, Director for Schools for The Big Life Group, said: “We look forward to working with families to develop a school that is at the heart of the community, where parents feel welcome and part of the school and where children are inspired to learn.

“The school’s vision is: ‘Together we will set our children on a path to fulfil their dreams’.”

In the run up to submitting the proposal, the group engaged and sought the views of local families accessing the centre and families in the area who do not currently access the centre.

The group also took advice, visiting a range of local services and groups including playgroups, day care providers and children’s centres, local groups including the African Women’s group, social landlords and tenants.

Emma said: “Unity Community Primary was initially the vision of a group of parents and The Big Life Group. We will continue to work with the community to shape the school, ensuring it meets the needs of the children who will become pupils.”

The group is notable for working with the homeless, and also offers support and services for children and families, health, social care, education and employment across the north of England, but has already entered education in the past.

Far from their first foray into childcare, the Manchester-based group opened Longsight Community Primary School in September last year after a 12-month developmental period.

This was the first time the group had established a school – but they had run the Longsight Children’s Centre on Farrer Road for 10 years prior to this.

Longsight Community Primary currently has 82 children in a reception, year one and year two class.

Chief Executive of The Big Life Group Fay Selvan said at the time: “We wanted to open a new primary school because in our children’s centre families were telling us they could not get a local school place for their child.”

“Giving local people the chance to get the services they want and need is at the heart of what The Big Life group is all about.”

Image courtesy of Optimus Education via Youtube, with thanks.

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