Derby's first Sikh school will open its doors today to 120 pupils.Read the full story ›
Parents of students at the Al-Madinah secondary free school in Derby have written an open letter to the Department for Education, demanding answers over the decision to close it down.
The letter, from the Parents & Friends of Al-Madinah School group, accuses the government of ignoring the wishes of parents, and of not putting the children first in any decision.
It goes on to say they believe the decision had been made before the new trust even took control of the school.
As parents we feel that you have not given sufficient time for the new trust to develop the school.
They were only in for less than a week before this decision was made.
We feel as a result of the timing of what has happened that a decision was possibly made a little while ago to close the secondary school and that you were waiting for the previous trust to step down before this decision was released.
A timeline looking at more than a year of criticism and crisis at the Al- Madinah free school.Read the full story ›
The National Union of Teachers' Regional Officer believes the Al-Madinah free school is a community resource, paid for by the tax payers, so people should expect quality education.
Nick Raine says the school is not achieving this, but is in chaos. He added that the NUT are opposed to free schools, and that the problems at Al-Madinah are a result of inexperienced people running the school.
Bosses at the controversial Al-Madinah free school in Derby have said they believe the government's decision to close the secondary half of the school is a positive step.
Barry Day, chairman of the Al-Madinah Education Trust, told ITV News Central he knows it will come as a "real shock" to parents and staff - but said he believes it is the "only way forward" for the school to improve its performance.
Prior to this morning's announcement by the Department of Education that Al-Madinah's secondary school is to be closed, Lord Nash explained the decision in a letter to the school.
Writing to the Chairman of Al-Madinah Education Trust, Barry Day, the Parliamentary Under-Secratary for the Department of Education said:
"It is clear there is a great deal of work to be done at the school. The feedback I have received from my officials, as well as the findings of Ofsted's reports, make plain the scale of the challenge facing the Trust....
... I am particularly concerned at the poor quality of the secondary teaching and the lack of breadth in the secondary curriculum...
... I have come to the conclusion that it would be simply not be in the interests of parents and pupils at the secondary school to continue to fund provision which has failed them in the manner now apparent...
... I have decided it would be in the best interests of those children in the secondary school to continue their education elsewhere from this September onwards."
Al-Madinah symbolises everything wrong with Free School programme: unqualified teachers & a complete lack of local oversight over schools
The Shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt, has criticised Al-Madinah in the wake of news that its secondary school is set to close.
The Al-Madinah secondary free school in Derby is set to be closed, amid concerns over the quality of teaching and curriculum.
The Department of Education made the following announcement today:
"The vast majority of free schools are performing well but where we have found failure we have acted swiftly and decisively. We have monitored Al-Madinah very closely since problems came to light last year...
... Based on the current situation, we believe the new Board – which began work last week - needs to focus efforts on the primary school in order to bring about the level of improvement required...
... The Board has accepted our decision to close the secondary school and we have offered our full support in helping pupils to find alternative places before the start of the next academic year.”
Concerned members of the community in Derby have spoken out against those running the Al-Madinah free school.
There were calls at a public meeting yesterday for the entire management to step down and be replaced.
Javed Iqbal, who was at the meeting, told ITV News Central he felt the school "could not even get the basics right."
Community leaders have called for a complete overhaul of management at the Al-Madinah free school in Derby.
A public meeting was held last night for parents to voice their concerns about the school following a series of critical reports, including one from Ofsted labelling it "dysfunctional".
Zafer Iqbal, from the Derby Community Education Forum, told ITV News Central that replacing the entire management team and re-branding the school might be the only solution.