Free School round-up

Durham free school backs down on plans to appeal against closure

Durham Free School will not be seeking a judicial review against its forced closure.

The school was told two weeks ago that education secretary Nicky Morgan was terminating its funding agreement and that it would close on March 27.

The governing body had threatened legal action against Ms Morgan if she remained part of the decision-making process.

Chair of governors John Denning said: “Even if successful, [the judicial review] would do little to assure the school stayed open.

“Our priority must be to focus on helping the children and their families who have been so badly affected by this terrible miscarriage of justice, and to make their last days at the school, which has become like a second family to many, as happy and celebratory as possible.”

‘Noise’ issues prompt planning rethink on Khalsa site

The government is thinking again about its decision to allow the free school Khalsa Secondary Academy to remain at its current location.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles last year granted the school permission to stay at premises in the south Buckinghamshire village of Stoke Poges.

His decision followed a local planning inspector’s refusal to a planning application for the Sikh ethos secondary school to continue using the site.

A week before the local and parish councils were due to take the government to the High Court over Mr Pickles’ decision, the Department for Communities and Local Government announced that it would re-think the decision due to noise issues.

A department spokesperson said: “Having reviewed the representations on a technical point of planning law, we have decided to redetermine the appeal.

“We will undertake a fresh assessment of the noise issues relating to this proposed new school and the appeal will be carefully reconsidered.”

Reading opens consultation to find a site for controversial free school

A public consultation to find a location for a controversial free primary school in Berkshire started this week.

Reading Borough Council is carrying out the consultation on behalf of the Education Funding Agency (EFA), which Schools Week revealed last September spent £1.2 million buying a three-bedroom house in High Ridge, Caversham, as a site for the 350-pupil The Heights.

Residents complained it was not a suitable location. The EFA also raised the wrath of the local council after it installed 2m-high gates without planning permission.

The Heights has since opened on a temporary site at a former nursery, and is expected to move to a permanent base from next September.

The Caversham site is one of five possible locations. The consultation ends with a public meeting on March 25.