Union: Free school pupils were 'taught nothing' for a term

Pupils at a free school which was closed down amid concerns about standards had been "taught nothing", the National Association of Head Teachers leader is claiming. The NAHT also suggested the six-week summer school break should be cut down.

Free school failure to be used in attack on Gove project

A Government free school which allegedly saw pupils "taught nothing" for a term will today be used as an example of a failing in Education Secretary's Michael Gove's landmark project.

The annual conference of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) in Birmingham will today hear evidence that, after a term at the school, pupils were "precisely one term behind where they should have been".

Discovery New School in Crawley, West Sussex, was closed seven months after being ruled "inadequate" by Ofsted. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the NAHT, will cite Discovery New School in Crawley, West Sussex, as an example of "the dangers of poorly thought through policy, rushed in to be able to claim a result".

The school was closed last month after Ofsted inspectors said its teaching left pupils "in danger of leaving school without being able to read and write properly".

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said action had been taken to close Discovery New School because standards were "simply not good enough" but added: "There are more than 170 free schools around the country and the vast majority are performing well."

Free school pupils 'learnt nothing for a term'

Pupils at a free school that was closed down last month had been "taught nothing", a union leader has said.

Prime Minister David Cameron meeting children from Kings Science Academy, Bradford, in 2012. Credit: PA

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), claims that some youngsters from Discovery New School, in West Sussex, were a term behind where they should have been when the school was closed over serious concerns about standards.

In his speech to the NAHT's annual conference in Birmingham, Mr Hobby is expected to say: "Some free schools are performing highly and, to be fair, few schools could have lived up to the hype attached to them, but some people were given schools to run who should not have been allowed near them."

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'Cut six-week school holidays,' headteachers suggest

The six-week school summer break should be scrapped in favour of spreading holidays more evenly throughout the year, headteachers have suggested.

The traditional six-week school summer break should be cut to stop teacher exhaustion and reduce holiday prices, heads are suggesting. Credit: PA

The move is being considered by the NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers) in a bid to reduce the cost of holidays during August and prevent teachers from being exhausted at the end of term.

The union is considering the proposal as part of a new education manifesto it is drawing up at its annual conference this weekend ahead of next year's general election.