A 500-year-old grammar school in Lancashire has been approved for free school status by the Department for Education (DfE).

Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School (QEGS) in Blackburn will become a free school from September 2014.

It means the school, which currently charges fees of £10,000 a year, will become state-funded while remaining free of local authority control.

Headmaster Simon Corns said it was "a great day" in the school's history.

The governors believe free school status will allow QEGS to offer education to a wider group of students.

Blackburn MP Jack Straw has supported the proposal, saying he believes the school to be an important part of the fabric of the town.

The other schools in Lancashire approved to become free schools are Burnley High School, Eden School, Blackburn and the Preston Free School.

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