A TEACHER is hoping to set up a free boys school in Lewisham specialising in vocational subjects.

Kay Johnston, of The Woodland, Hither Green, has been joined by six other teachers who plan to open Diaspora High School, for boys aged five to 19, in September next year.

The new school will initially open for reception and Year 7 pupils and will have a three form entry with 25 students in each class.

Mrs Johnston, who has been teaching for 32 years, said: “I’m concerned with the current number of boys leaving school with insufficient skills for work and then drifting on to the streets and into gangs.”

The school will offer an academic and vocational curriculum and students at secondary level will be paired up with a mentor.

Mrs Johnston said: “If a child wants to be a lawyer we will link them with a solicitor or barrister.”

The mother-of-three added: “Most importantly, when they leave school or university they will have a three month placement in the field they want to work in to give them a chance to stand on their own two feet.”

Pupils can choose vocational subjects in Year 9, which include electrical engineering, plumbing and architectural design.

Mrs Johnston, 54, said: “The curriculum is to give a fully rounded individual.”

Diaspora High School could be set up under the government’s free schools initiative, which gives parents, teachers, charities and community groups powers to set up new schools.

A business plan has already been set out and the application form is completed.

The next step is to gather evidence of support for the new school and to find a site for it in Lewisham.

Liberal Democrat ward councillor for Downham, Jenni Clutten, said: “My advice to her is to only offer work experience to people who want it and to have them step forward themselves.

“If they show commitment they can get a lot more out of it.”

Parents can find out about the school on April 30 from 5pm to 7pm at St Swithuns Church Hall, in Hither Green Lane, Hither Green.

Call 07988 543 745, visit diasporahighschool.co.uk or email free@diasporahighschool.co.uk