Axed school hits out at decision to pull funding

A school being forced to close has hit back at the Government’s decision to pull funding.

Discovery New School in Brighton Road, Crawley, will be forced to close in April next year after the school’s governors received a letter from schools minister Lord Nash.

But senior management, teachers, parents and pupils at the school have lambasted the decision, claiming the government has not given them enough time to change.

A school spokesman said governors, headteacher, staff, parents and children are “deeply disappointed”.

He added: “Everyone connected with the school has worked tirelessly over the past few months to deliver the plan presented to the Department for Education on December 6.

“We don’t believe that the strengthened management team, and new headteacher, have been given enough time, working with our new partners, to deliver improvements.”

Finance committee chairman Mark Beard, 43, said the move to pull funding was “more about the politicians than the kids”.

He added: “We feel that we’re being brushed under the carpet – get a problem child out of the way before we get too close to a general election campaign.”

Anna Turner-Smith, 38, who has two children in the school, said: “The school for us has only ever been a positive one. I’ve never had any problem. My children thrive in here.

“This is the education I chose for them and the one I expect to keep. I know I’ll never read another Ofsted report again.”

The school was placed in special measures by Ofsted inspectors in May, but despite instating a new interim headteacher and an improvement programme, the Department of Education said it has not seen enough evidence of progress.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Since the school was placed in special measures by Ofsted in May we have monitored progress closely.

“The trust has not provided evidence they are making the changes required.

“We are now working with West Sussex County Council to ensure the children affected have suitable alternatives in place and their transition is as smooth as possible.”

Opposition Chief Whip of the House of Lords Steve Bassam said: “I think the whole saga underlines the problem with free schools.

“The way they’re set up and the lack of accountability is the worst form of central control which lets the minister decide what to do without having to consult anybody.

“I think the school may well have a point about not having time to deliver their promises. The people that are going to lose out most here are the parents and pupils.”

Comments (3)

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11:36am Mon 16 Dec 13

mtmoocher says...

So the pupils miss out on a decent standard of education whilst the staff find their feet? Not often I agree with Steve Bassam but the sooner this experiment is abandoned the better for all concerned. At the same time, integrate all Public Schools into the state system, remove their charitable status & tax breaks. This may ensure a level playing field for all with the best teachers retained. It may even address the disparity within the University entrance allocations.
So the pupils miss out on a decent standard of education whilst the staff find their feet? Not often I agree with Steve Bassam but the sooner this experiment is abandoned the better for all concerned. At the same time, integrate all Public Schools into the state system, remove their charitable status & tax breaks. This may ensure a level playing field for all with the best teachers retained. It may even address the disparity within the University entrance allocations. mtmoocher

7:36pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Dave At Home says...

I guess the whole story is not being told here as usual.... let's see who steps in and takes the building over as an academy once the locks have been changed..... standing by for CACA.
I guess the whole story is not being told here as usual.... let's see who steps in and takes the building over as an academy once the locks have been changed..... standing by for CACA. Dave At Home

2:20pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Skidrow says...

Wasn't this the one with a headmaster who had no qualifications and ofsted found the kids were in real danger of leaving there without being able to read?
Wasn't this the one with a headmaster who had no qualifications and ofsted found the kids were in real danger of leaving there without being able to read? Skidrow

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