HALTON’S first freeschool has doubled its numbers just seven weeks after opening and now has only five year seven places left.

Sandymoor School, created by five Runcorn parents, celebrated its successful achievements at its first founding day on Friday, as Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans officially opened the school.

There are now 37 year seven and eight pupils.

Head teacher Andy Green-Howard, aged 43, said: “It is brilliant. We’ve had students joining us every week.

“To put a vision into practice has been fantastic. All our students have thrived. The very detailed testing we have done has shown that some students have previously undiagnosed learning needs. We are putting into place extra support for them.

“All our students are meeting their aspirational targets.”

Pupils enjoyed a healthy eating challenge and met a parrot, meerkats, a tortoise and parrot from a travelling zoo to mark their founding day.

The temporary building in Pitts Heath Lane, will double in size next September to accommodate 80 year seven pupils.

Mr Green-Howard said: “Over 150 families visited our open days.

“I have been bowled over by various offers. Two qualified teaching assistants have volunteered to work with us.

“We hope to appoint a caretaker cleaner and an administration assistant.”

Architect’s plans for a permanent building to accommodate 900 pupils, including a sixth form, will be submitted early next year, and open in phases from September, 2014.

Mr Green-Howard said: “Eighteen months ago, a group of five ordinary people had a desire to do something big, something grand, something special.

“This first founders day is a true celebration of an enormous amount of hard work and determination. I am so excited to be leading such an inspirational team in making a difference.”