The ArgusFailed free school cost taxpayer millions of pounds (From The Argus)

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Failed Discovery New School in Crawley cost taxpayer £3m

The Argus: Failed free school cost taxpayer millions of pounds Failed free school cost taxpayer millions of pounds

A failed free school closing today has cost taxpayers more than £3 million.

Discovery New School in Crawley, which is for children aged four to 10, opened in September 2011 but has been plagued by funding issues and poor Ofsted reports.

And the annual accounts have revealed that more than £3 million of public money has been spent.

Chris Oxlade, Labour Parliamentary candidate for Crawley, described the school as an “education experiment” which had gone “horribly wrong”.

He said: “Dozens of children and their families have been put through a nightmare over the last few months trying to find places in the state education system, which is stretched to breaking point."Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money was invested in the school, which is being forced to shut its doors, leaving Crawley with a huge bill.

“In addition, West Sussex County Council is being left to pick up the pieces to the tune of close to £300,000, which it won’t see back from the Department of Education for months, if not years.”

Figures from the annual accounts show £854,633 of public cash was spent acquiring the Broadfield House site.

An additional £1,619,828 was spent on refurbishment and development costs – bringing the total to £2,484,461 before the school had even opened.

Each academic year the school was open, a further £359,304 of public money was handed over.

Mr Oxlade added: "This money could have brought much needed investment in Crawley's schools, allowing the number of places to increase and giving much needed support for special educational needs.”

From the outset it courted controversy for its use of Montessori teaching methods, which promote independence, freedom and a respect of a child’s natural psychological, physical and social development.

The school also drew criticism from teaching unions for hiring non-qualified teachers.

Last June a damning Ofsted report warned students at the school were in danger of leaving without being able to read and write properly.

Inspectors deemed it inadequate in three out of four categories, leading to it being placed in special measures.

The report also pointed to the bad behaviour of pupils and the headteacher’s lack of “skills and knowledge”.

Lord Nash, from the Department for Education, made the decision to pull the schools funding in December 2014.

Comments (6)

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11:30am Fri 4 Apr 14

qm says...

Excluding the controversy of Montessori teaching methods, this has been a disaster through and through from the beginning! Nothing wrong with aspiration but a little experience helps!
Excluding the controversy of Montessori teaching methods, this has been a disaster through and through from the beginning! Nothing wrong with aspiration but a little experience helps! qm
  • Score: 2

1:35am Sat 5 Apr 14

KarenT says...

You get what you pay for. Too many parents expecting too much for nothing. As I said on a precious thread, this type of education will be flawed if it's expected to be government-funded. About time parents realised the proverbial **** has hit the fan and you are gonna have to pay for an adequate education. Sad but true, there are just too many people breeding into a world that is already over-populated. You can't argue with numbers.
You get what you pay for. Too many parents expecting too much for nothing. As I said on a precious thread, this type of education will be flawed if it's expected to be government-funded. About time parents realised the proverbial **** has hit the fan and you are gonna have to pay for an adequate education. Sad but true, there are just too many people breeding into a world that is already over-populated. You can't argue with numbers. KarenT
  • Score: 0

3:01pm Sat 5 Apr 14

s&k says...

A Tory farce, free schools being used to undermine the state sector. Just wait til the next elections!
A Tory farce, free schools being used to undermine the state sector. Just wait til the next elections! s&k
  • Score: 3

11:33am Mon 7 Apr 14

whatone says...

So where did all that money actually go and to whom?

Privatise the profits, socialise the debts!
So where did all that money actually go and to whom? Privatise the profits, socialise the debts! whatone
  • Score: 2

4:16pm Tue 8 Apr 14

whatevernext2013 says...

KarenT wrote:
You get what you pay for. Too many parents expecting too much for nothing. As I said on a precious thread, this type of education will be flawed if it's expected to be government-funded. About time parents realised the proverbial **** has hit the fan and you are gonna have to pay for an adequate education. Sad but true, there are just too many people breeding into a world that is already over-populated. You can't argue with numbers.
maybe you should be first in line for the cull
[quote][p][bold]KarenT[/bold] wrote: You get what you pay for. Too many parents expecting too much for nothing. As I said on a precious thread, this type of education will be flawed if it's expected to be government-funded. About time parents realised the proverbial **** has hit the fan and you are gonna have to pay for an adequate education. Sad but true, there are just too many people breeding into a world that is already over-populated. You can't argue with numbers.[/p][/quote]maybe you should be first in line for the cull whatevernext2013
  • Score: 0

12:16am Thu 17 Apr 14

andrewedmondson says...

It was also a religious school, though this had nothing to do with its downfall.

I feel sorry for the parents and children but I am glad that there is one less publicly funded religious school.

There are bound to be failing free schools. The public will have to pay for them of course.

What an educational mess we are in.
It was also a religious school, though this had nothing to do with its downfall. I feel sorry for the parents and children but I am glad that there is one less publicly funded religious school. There are bound to be failing free schools. The public will have to pay for them of course. What an educational mess we are in. andrewedmondson
  • Score: 0

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