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Angry parents and pupils take to Westminster in Crawley school row
Angry parents and pupils of a condemned school were joined by an MP in an attempt to reverse a decision which caused uproar in Sussex.
Crawley MP Henry Smith was in West- minster yesterday with parents and pupils from Discovery New School to petition Number 10 Downing Street to reverse the Department of Education’s decision to withdraw funding from the free school.
Earlier this week the Crawley school’s chairman of governors Chris Cook received a letter from Schools Minister Lord Nash saying he was terminating its funding.
The school in Brighton Road has been told it must shut its doors on April 4 – the first time this kind of action has been taken.
Commenting outside the Prime Minister’s residence, Mr Smith said: “I’m deeply disappointed by the Department for Education’s decision to close Discovery New School from next April.
“The current support structure is failing pupils at Discovery New School and so today I’ve joined parents and pupils to deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street calling on a reversal the decision.”
He said he had petitioned the Leader of the House of Commons to help his efforts to meet with Education Minister, Lord Nash, “who has so far eluded my repeated requests to meet with him and the school’s governors.”
Mr Smith added: “The Department for Education has lessons to learn from the way it has handled its decision to close the school, but before that can happen it needs to ensure that urgent action is taken to identify permanent school placements for those children affected if closure is confirmed.”
In response to the closure, Mr Cook said the school sensed Lord Nash was prepared to “crucify the school” rather than consider their plans to boost standards.
Mr Cook wrote: “Whatever the rights and wrongs of free schools, the parents here know their children were thriving.
"All of us, parents, staff, and governors, recognise since Ofsted placed the school in special measures that changes needed to be made.
“In this season of goodwill we sense that you are prepared to wash your hands and crucify the school rather than engage in a proper conversation of our plans because it is easier to make the governors and teachers at Discovery New School the scapegoat for being an early adopter of a free school policy which the National Audit Office has rightly criticised for being rushed and ill-considered.”
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