A SECOND free school for Bournemouth is believed to be close to obtaining a site in the town centre.

Hopes for the Livingstone Academy, a school specialising in IT digital technology, to open in September this year were dashed when the Aspirations Academies Trust was unable to find a suitable site in the Lansdowne area.

In September last year the Daily Echo reported the opening had been put back to 2018, and we understand this has now been extended by a further year.

Parkfield School, the town's first free school, is expected to move from Dorset House at the Lansdowne to their Bournemouth Airport site after Easter.

However, responding to a query from Councillor Rae Stollard, council children's services officers said the purchase of a "site in central Bournemouth" was in the process of being "finalised" for the school, although it is unlikely to have any playing fields on site.

Cllr Stollard's question stated: "I note that the Livingstone Academy is still a figment of imagination which hopes to become a reality in 2018, yet the report mentions that it takes three to five years for a school to be built and open for business.

"Can I ask where the playing fields will be located for this inner town school?"

In response, officers said: "The Education Funding Agency (EFA) which on behalf of the Department for Education is building and funding the Livingstone Academy is in the process of finalising agreed ‘Heads of Terms’ for the purchase of a site in central Bournemouth.

"This agreement will then be taken through the EFA’s own approval processes before planning and delivery of the new building commences.

"The EFA when deciding to purchase the site would have taken into consideration the size of the site and that it could provide some outdoor play space.

"As with many schools both old and new in built up areas the EFA and the Aspirations Academy trust will be looking to arrange access to playing fields elsewhere for organised sports and activities.

"We will be continuing to work with the EFA to ensure that delivery of this key part of the council’s overall strategic plan to provide additional school places is completed in a timely fashion."

The school will be part of the Aspirations Academies Trust, which already runs the Magna and Ocean Academies in Poole and Jewell Academy in Bournemouth.

The man behind the school is Ian Livingstone, who co-founded Games Workshop, and hopes to run a school "centred on computer science and creative thinking".

Bournemouth's other free school, Parkfield, is moving to a new site at Bournemouth Airport in April.