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Children’s Services

Education and Skills Funding Agency delay opening of primary Free School

Friday, 15 December 2017

A new primary Free School, which was due to open its doors to pupils next year, has had its official opening delayed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

It had been hoped that a temporary Free School would open next September, but Swindon Borough Council and the Blue Kite Academy Trust were notified of the decision this week by the ESFA to put all its focus instead on the opening of the permanent school the following year. The permanent school has a target opening date of September 2019.

The ESFA has informed the parties that the programme of delivery for a temporary Free School will not proceed due to a number of factors. These include the agreement of heads of terms with the developer, a consultation with residents, achieving the relevant planning permission and connecting the new facility to currently unknown utility services.

Concerns have also been raised by the EFSA of not being able to meet the deadline for the opening of the permanent school, if resources are focused on the temporary solution.

Cllr Fionuala Foley, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and School Attainment, said: “This is really disappointing news for parents in the new Badbury Park community as we were hoping to have the temporary school open next September.

“But unfortunately, this decision is out of our control, despite the best efforts of the Council and the Blue Kite Academy Trust. We are contacting the dozen or so parents who have submitted an application for a school place in September and will support them in finding alternative school places for their children.”