06:00 Monday 10 February 2014

Students from Burton will have to fight for school places

Written bySARAH BOULD

A TOTAL of 30 students from Burton will be left fighting for school places when their current one closes at the end of the summer term.

The Al-Madinah faith school in Derby will close at the end of the summer term following a damning report from Ofsted inspectors.

The secondary education part of the school will be axed but the primary part will continue.

The shock decision by the Government means that pupils aged 11 to 16 will have to find new secondary schools and there are likely to be staff redundancies.

Schools Minister Lord Nash told Al-Madinah’s new trustees in a letter that the “poor quality of secondary teaching” and “lack of breadth” in the curriculum mean he thinks it would be best if “children in the secondary part of the school continue their education elsewhere from this September”.

A damning report by an inspection team from Ofsted – Office for Standards in Education – published in October found the free school “in chaos” “dysfunctional” and “inadequate” and it was placed in special measures.

Lord Nash said in his letter to new trust chairman Barry Day that he expects the school’s board to develop the primary section of the school instead.

But he does not rule out the possibility of a secondary section returning to the school at a later date.

He said: “I still wish to see the vision of an all-through faith school realised, but I will only agree to this when the trust can demonstrate the provision of primary education is of high quality.”

The Government’s latest intervention marks the end of a turbulent period at the free school which first opened in September 2012.

Twelve months later in September 2013, a row over forcing teachers to wear Muslim dress broke out and, together with rumours of alleged financial irregularities, prompted the Government to investigate and send inspectors to the school.

Parents are due to meet with Mr Day and the rest of the trustees, together with representatives from the Department for Education, on Monday night.

Councillor Martin Rawson, Derby City Council cabinet member for children and young people said the council would work with everyone to sort the school place situation out.

He said: “The council will work closely with the school and Department for Education in supporting parents to make alternative arrangements for their children at other secondary schools. We will do all we can to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible for the pupils.”

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