On the naughty step - conduct that deserves a ticking off

31st August 2012 at 01:00

This week: One in a Million Free School

It seems this free school's name was a little prophetic: it neatly sums up the school's chances of opening in Bradford next week. Backed by a charity with the same name, the One in a Million Free School was long committed to opening its doors in time for the new academic year next week. But due to low take-up of places, its funding has been pulled by the Department for Education at the 11th hour.

The proposed secondary had filled just two-thirds of its 50 places, so mandarins decided that its purse strings should be snipped before it could open. The decision caused outrage among the parents who had actually signed up to the school, not least because many of them had already bought uniforms for their children.

Some readers may see it as unfair to place the school rather than the DfE on the naughty step. But to sign up just 30-odd children in more than a year is, in short, a little rubbish. Especially if you've promised to fill roughly two classes.

The school's backers do have the right to feel a bit aggrieved, however, as just two months ago the very same people within the DfE deemed the rather paltry 37 pupils that make up the Beccles Free School enough for it to open in Suffolk in September. Nevertheless, to the naughty step with you, One in a Million.

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