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.
We don’t believe that the strengthened management team, and new head teacher, have been given enough time, working with our new partners, to deliver improvements. Ofsted’s last published observations were just 12 days after our new interim Head teacher was appointed into her new role. Since then the school has accelerated a programme of improvements and much has changed already.
The Governors, Head teacher, staff, parents and children of Discovery New School are deeply disappointed that Lord Nash has refused to give us the opportunity to continue as a free school.
Everyone connected with the school has worked tirelessly over the past few months to deliver the plan presented to the Department for Education on Friday 6th December. Our management team and new partners, including a National Leader of Governance and the Montessori St NicholasTrust, believe the school submitted a plan that was both credible and strong and would continue to deliver change quickly.
One of the Government's flagship free schools has been ordered to close amid continuing concerns about the standard of education it is offering. Discovery New School in Crawley, West Sussex, has been told it must shut its doors on April 4 - the first time this kind of action has been taken.
In a letter to the school's chairman of governors, Chris Cook, Schools Minister Lord Nash said he was terminating its funding agreement. Discovery New School was declared failing and placed in special measures by watchdog Ofsted in May.
A Department for Education (DfE) spokesman said it had been monitoring the school's progress and found it was not making the changes required to improve standards.
Lord Nash, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, has written a letter to the school to say he is "not satisfied that the action the Academy Trust proposes to take is sufficient in all the circumstances."