England’s first free state boarding school due to open in October

The BBC is reporting that a school described as England’s first free state boarding school is due to open to pupils in October…

The Durand Academy applied to convert Grade II-listed buildings in Stedham, West Sussex into a 375-pupil school, but permission was denied in 2013.

The academy, which runs a primary in Stockwell, south London, is appealing against the planning decision.

A spokesman said they were committed to the scheme, for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The South Downs National Park Authority, which turned down the planning application in December, said the school would be too big and its impact on the landscape would be “inappropriate”.

The 20-acre site was formerly St Cuthman’s School, which had 100 pupils, but the building is now empty.

The school said 48 pupils would spend their first few weeks in Stockwell while renovations are completed, before moving to board in the village next month.

Their specific start date has not yet been finalised.

The Department for Education pledged £17.3m for the school with the Durand Education Trust, which owns the site, providing a further £5m.

But many local residents are opposed to the plan…

More at: Durand Academy in Stedham due to open in October

 

So is this subject to the planning decision being over-turned on appeal, or are they able to open on a smaller scale anyway?

 

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Comments

  1. Janet2

    Free?  But Chris Wormald, Permanent Secretary at the DfE, wrote to National Audit Office in December 2013 and said:

    ‘In addition, Durand has identified a series of contingency options, including: (1) increasing London Horizons income through additional accommodation; and (2) increasing some charges for parents at the academy.’

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/278603/11_12_13_amyas_morse.pdf

    ‘…increasing some charges’ doesn’t sound as it it’s free.

    The NAO had been critical of the scheme and the Public Accounts Committee wondered if the DfE understood value for money.

    http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/07/auditor-criticises-dfe-boarding-school-plan-while-accounts-committee-wonders-if-dfe-understands-value-for-money/

    Since then, the executive principal of Durand Academy Trust has been censured for conflict of interest.

    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/education/article4099028.ece

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