This follows an agonising two weeks for parents of pupils have been scrambling for school places following the Department for Education's shock decision to pull the plug on the opening earlier this month due to uncertainties over a permanent site for the school.
The DfE planned to pull out from funding the free school after the new Labour council administration announced a review into the merger of Sulivan Primary School with nearby New King's Primary. Sulivan's site was to be used for the new school after a temporary two-year base in Gibbs Green, West Kensington.
The DfE confirmed this morning the opening will go ahead as planned after London mayor Boris Johnson pledged his support to finding a permanent home for the school, allowing Lord Nash to grant funding and end a fortnight of uncertainty for desperate parents. As part of the deal, an agreement with the temporary site owners CAPCO to extend the lease at Gibbs Green for a further year until July 2017 has been made.
School chairman Alex Wade said: “We're delighted sense has prevailed. Whatever the agonies we've all been through, the 'can do' spirit shown by FBS parents, boys, and staff, has been quite remarkable in setting the foundations for a unique school. My thanks go to our local MP in particular, who has been with us from the start and has been a continual support in the last two weeks. Thanks also to the Department for Education for their work in reviewing their decision, to the Mayor of London for his intervention and to our council for their engagement in recent weeks.”
FBS parent and founder, Deborah De Long said: “Unbelievable; what a huge relief. My son is over the moon. He's been saying he only wants to go to FBS. I couldn't have given him better news in his final few days of primary school.”
The school will now open as planned with nearly 100 Year 7 boys this September, then build year on year until it reaches its full capacity in 2020.
Labour’s Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader Steve Cowan welcomed the development, saying: “I'm delighted, particularly, for the children and parents.
“We’ve been campaigning hard for this outcome and I’m really pleased Lord Nash has heard us and changed his mind.
City Hall will now begin working alongside the school, borough and funding agency to find a new site from 2017.
Mr Johnson said: “I am delighted we've been able to find a solution.
“I know that parents and pupils have endured a dreadful couple of weeks but this agreement means there will be a Fulham Boys School up and running from this September.”
Lord Nash said: “I am delighted that we are now able to open this excellent school in September as originally planned. The Greater London Authority and EFA have worked rapidly together to achieve this way forward, and the mayor’s guarantee of a permanent site provides the school with the security it needs.”