Rivendale Free School opening postponed until 2012

Lucy Knight-Ballard's picture
Tonight, James Woods from the Rivendale organisation stood alone at a well attended local resident's AGM when announcing Rivendale's failure to meet their target opening date in September 2011 .

An announcement on their website reads:

"The Trustees of Rivendale are sad to announce that Rivendale Primary School will not be opening in September 2011. We worked hard to find suitable and affordable premises for the school in time for a September opening, but this has not been possible."
This ill-planned and ill-advised proposal for a free school may never have got off the ground under the new more demanding conditions for stage 1 of the DfE process. It has been a shocking waste of public money, around £144K, that has been invested in the whole Rivendale proposal process thus far, and yet they maintain that they aim to open next year.

Whose money will they use to pursue this? How will they maintain current staff? Where will they find money to re-market the school next year? Are they required to continue to pay DfE consultancy costs until they open?

On the plus side, this is at least proof that despite all the obstacles put in the way, the strength of feeling in the local community has won through. There will be no primary free school in our immediate area this year.

I hope this gives hope to others currently fighting to protect their local schools.
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Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 23/03/2011 - 08:00

It was madness in the first place to consider any proposal to open a school when no-one, not even the proposers, know where the school will be sited. The only people benefiting from this are the organisations being paid for consultancy.

Tracy Hannigan's picture
Wed, 23/03/2011 - 19:56

The 'spin' put on the announcement was that they desired to better account for the views of the area and gain more support. I suspect the reality is that they did not get approval for the site and are now caught in the new competitive proposals process. They appear to continue to work very closely with the council to troubleshoot the objections made the first time around - from systems of ticketing parking offenders to reports reaffirming pupil place need -- all of this energy and time etc from a Council whose mantra has been 'the proposals have nothing to do with us at the Local level, its the DfE' etc.

It will be interesting to see how things proceed from here.

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