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Farrans Welcome Duchess to Chichester Free School

1st June 2018

Farrans recently welcomed a very special guest of honour, the Duchess of Richmond, to Chichester Free School site, in order to mark the progress of converting a 160-year-old disused convent into the new Chichester Free School has taken place, attended by guest of honour, the Duchess of Richmond.

The main work on preserving and converting the former Carmelite convent as well as creating two new 3-storey buildings alongside it has now finished. At the start of the new school year in September, the school will be the only all-through school in the area. Until now, the school has taken children from primary up to secondary age, but a brand new Sixth Form will be launched in September.


When full, the school will be able to admit just over 1,200 boys and girls aged 4-19, with a range of mixed abilities, including those with special educational needs.


The school does not operate a catchment area and places are already oversubscribed, Stephen King, Chair of Governors and one of the founders of the school, said.


He added, “I’ve always lived in Chichester and felt there was a gap between independent education and state education, as well as there being a great need for more primary and secondary places. This was our motivation in creating a new school.”


Interim Principal, Jenny Clough, commented, “This is an exciting day as we look forward to welcoming all the children to their wonderful new school and working with each of them individually to help them achieve their very best.”


The task of turning the 1870s convent into a school for the 21st century while preserving its unique historic character has been undertaken by Building and Civil Engineering contractor, Farrans Construction, which operates throughout the UK and Ireland. 


Warren Wright, Farrans Regional Director, explained, “This restorative project has included a range of technical and time constraint challenges, requiring a meticulous approach to maintaining quality and Health & Safety. Our site management have excelled in their performance and have ensured that the end-users on this project – the students entering state-of-the-art facilities – are kept in mind at all times.