'˜Disappointment' over decision to close school

Crawley Conservative MP Henry Smith says he is disappointed at the decision to close Discovery New School in Broadfield.

The Department for Education has announced the school will lose its funding and close on April 4 next year.

Mr Smith said: “I am deeply disappointed by the Department for Education’s decision to close Discovery New School from next April and am disturbed by the failure of management and lack of support.

“As a father myself, I share the great concern which will be felt by parents and have called in Parliament for the Education Secretary to both ensure his officials work with and assist West Sussex County Council to find suitable school places for those children affected, in addition to seeking assurances that the school buildings will be used for education purposes going forward.”

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate Cllr Chris Oxlade said: “My heart goes out to the children and parents who have been caught up in an experiment that’s gone horribly wrong. They now face a great deal of uncertainty.

“There have been concerns for a while about the school and we need to know why it’s taken so long to reach this decision.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “The vast majority of free schools are performing well with three-quarters rated good or outstanding. But we will not hesitate to intervene and take swift action if children are being denied the education they deserve. This applies to every school.

“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.

“Lord Nash has today notified the Trust that the department will terminate its funding agreement at the end of the spring term.

“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.”