Failed free school cost taxpayer millions of pounds

Failed Discovery New School in Crawley cost taxpayer £3m

A failed free school closing today has cost taxpayers greater than £3 million.

Discovery New School in Crawley, that’s for kids aged four to ten, opened in September 2011 but have been suffering from funding issues and poor Ofsted reports.

And the once a year accounts have revealed that greater than £3 million of public money was spent.

Chris Oxlade, Labour Parliamentary candidate for Crawley, described the college as an “education experiment” which had gone “horribly wrong”.

He said: “Dozens of youngsters and their families has been put through a nightmare during the last few months looking for places within the state education system, that’s stretched to brink.”Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money was invested within the school, that is being forced to close its doors, leaving Crawley with a massive bill.

“In addition, West Sussex County Council is being left to select up the pieces to the tune of almost £300,000, which it won’t see back from the dep. of Education for months, if not years.”

Figures from the once a year accounts show £854,633 of public cash was spent acquiring the Broadfield House site.

An extra £1,619,828 was spent on refurbishment and development costs – bringing the whole to £2,484,461 before the varsity had even opened.

Each academic year the faculty was open, an additional £359,304 of public money was handed over.

Mr Oxlade added: “This money can have brought much needed investment in Crawley’s schools, allowing the variety of places to extend and giving much needed support for special educational needs.”

From the outset it courted controversy for its use of Montessori teaching methods, which promote independence, freedom and a respect of a child’s natural psychological, physical and social development.

The faculty also drew criticism from teaching unions for hiring non-qualified teachers.

Last June a damning Ofsted report warned students on the school were in peril of leaving without with the ability to read and write properly.

Inspectors deemed it inadequate in three out of 4 categories, resulting in it being placed in special measures.

The report also pointed to the bad behaviour of pupils and the headteacher’s loss of “skills and knowledge”.

Lord Nash, from the dept for Education, made the choice to drag the faculties funding in December 2014.