THE steering group behind a proposal to open a new free school in the Wye Valley will spend more time putting a bid together for the Department for Education.

The group, led by chairwoman Sarah Mclellan and made up of parents and advisers, had hoped to submit an application next month to open the Wye Valley Free School next year for 284 children aged between four and 16 who live in Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire and Hereford.

But after gaining the support of the New Schools Network Development Fund the group decided to delay submitting the application until May.

The fund is an independent education charity that provides support to free school groups in the form of an adviser, educational, financial and operational advice, as well as £5,000 towards marketing and research costs.

The school is based on the Montessori and Human Scale Education principles and aims to develop small learning groups.

The school would start with 24 children in the primary section and 40 in the secondary and increase pupil numbers in phases. It would be state-funded, free from local authority control and have a board of governors. The location has yet to be decided, but is likely to be on the border of the three counties. For details visit