A row has erupted over who is to blame for the failure of free school Floreat Brentford Primary.
The closure is due to difficulties in securing a permanent site , which will force around 70 pupils, aged four to seven, to relocate to another school.
A decision was made on Friday (February 9) by the Floreat Board of Trustees and the Department for Education (DfE) by mutual consent to shut down the school permanently.
Floreat said in its initial statement that efforts to secure a permanent site had been plagued by delays, to which the council responded by blaming the government’s free school model failing.
Floreat reacted to the council's submission by adding: “The closure of Floreat Brentford has nothing to do with free schools as a policy.
"It is entirely due to the authorities’ failure to meet their commitments with respect to a permanent school site.
"We regret that pupils, parents, and our teachers have had to suffer due to this closure, which could have been avoided.”
The comments outraged the council, which branded Floreat's statement as "misleading".
Mr Curran said: “In light of the misleading statement issued by Floreat I have had no option but to issue a further press statement on this matter.
“I categorically refute the assertion made by Floreat school that the council is responsible for the school closing.
“Under the free school programme the council has no control over the decision or final location of a free school.
"In this case, it is the responsibility of Floreat, as the school sponsor, and the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to find and secure a suitable site.
"Floreat, with the support of the EFA, chose to open in their temporary building knowing that they had not found a permanent site and knowing that they would not be able to take two forms of entry due to limited space in their temporary site.
"This was a calculated risk that has regrettably failed.
“The government’s free school programme removes the power and influence over new schools from the local authority, yet when it does not go to plan Floreat seeks to blame the council for their own mistakes.
“I will also be writing to the chair of the Floreat Education Academies Trust insisting they withdraw their inaccurate and misleading statement.
“The site identified by the council is still available for a school, and this is in our local plan as an education site.”
The council is due to meet parents and carers on Thursday (February 15).
If you are a parent whose child is affected by the impending closure of Floreat Brentford, email your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
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