- 11 updates
Andrew Snowdon, the founder of the failing free school in West Sussex, blamed Ofsted and Education Secretary Michael Gove's department for the problems at Discovery New School.
He told Channel 4 News: "The real failing is one of an out-of-control Ofsted and a Department for Education that hasn't always sung from a single song sheet or provided adequate support at the right moments.
"We were trying to do something very different here and always looking for short-term measures and quick results doesn't always produce what you want."
Parent Samantha Bateman withdrew her two sons from Discovery New School at the start of the school year because she predicted there would be problems:
- September 2011 - Discovery New School opens in Crawley, West Sussex becoming one of the first 24 free schools in the country.
- May 2013 - Ofsted inspectors rate school 'inadequate'.
- June 2013 - Placed in special measures.
- October 2013 - Founder and headteacher Lindsay Snowdon suspended. Interim headteacher Penny Crocker appointed.
- November 2013 - Ofsted inspects the school again and reports that little progress had been made.
- December 2013 - Department for Education announces that the school's funding agreement is being terminated on 4th April 2014.
Labour’s shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt has said that the Free School policy is "damaging standards" and that there was a "lack of oversight".
West Sussex County Council has said it will make every effort to minimise disruption to the children who will be without a school in April.
A free school ordered to close by the Department of Education has said that it "echoed its concerns" regarding "inadequate" education being provided by the school in West Sussex.
The Discovery New School's chair of governors Chris Cook responded to Schools Minister Lord Nash's "grave concerns":
There were "grave concerns" about education standards at a West Sussex free school, which has been ordered to shut in the first of such case in England.
Schools Minister Lord Nash said he was terminating the Discovery New School's funding agreement. In a letter to the school's chairman of governors Chris Cook, he wrote:
The Department of Education is working with West Sussex County Council to ensure children affected by the closure of a free school will have suitable alternatives, a spokesman said today.
Discovery New School was one of the first 24 free schools - a flagship education policy of the coalition Government - to open in 2011.
Latest ITV News reports
The sudden demise of the Discovery New School is likely to undermine confidence in Education Secretary Michael Gove's flagship programme.
Parents and governors at the Discovery New School in Crawley have expressed their dismay after it became the first free school to be closed.