A CONTROVERSIAL new school has revealed the headteacher who will take the helm if the school goes ahead.

The proposed Burnley High School will be managed by former Wellfield School headteacher Dawn Forshaw, if it gets approval to open this September.

Mrs Forshaw, 54, a former high school teacher and stockbroker, said the aim of the school was to provide project-based learning over traditional methods.

She added that the church-ethos school, which would have 90 Year 7 places available but ultimately see 700 pupils including 200 sixth formers, was also welcome to those of all faiths and those of no faith.

The school has attracted opposition with faith groups, teachers and also representatives of major teaching unions joining with Burnley Council to oppose the free school scheme.

However the married mum-of-one, who has 20 years’ teaching experience, said she was undaunted.

Speaking to the Lancashire Teleg-raph, she said: “Everyone who has opposed the scheme appears not to have school age children in the area. Where you have parents who are looking for more options, they are welcoming us with open arms.”

Originally from Maghull, near Liverpool, she read economics at Hull University before taking a PGCE in the subject, along with PE. She has worked as a secondary teacher in Hull and Berkshire before working as a stockbroker in Manchester and Liverpool for 15 years.

When she started a family she became a primary school teacher in East Lancashire and has worked at St Paul’s in Nelson and St Leonard’s in Padiham where she undertook deputy and acting head roles before becoming headteacher at Wellfield.

Concern over the effect on school places is something she says the Department for Education will take into account.

She hopes to focus on project- based learning, which uses real-world examples to teach skills.

She said: “This school will be very different but not weird, as some think. Project-based learning is backed up by the research and motivates the children.”

The news comes after the ‘preferred’ site for the scheme was revealed as the former Habergham High School, in Byron Street. The proposal from the Life Church Burnley, Community Solutions Lancash-ire and the Chapel Street Schools Trust is now under a statutory process between Lancashire County Council and the Department for Education.