£3.5 million extension for secondary free school with only 90 pupils in area with 700 surplus places

Janet Downs's picture
St Michael’s Catholic Secondary School, a free school for 11-16 year-olds in Camborne, Cornwall, has just 90 pupils. If it becomes full it will have only 300.

Nevertheless, its website says a “3.5 million pound specialist teaching block extension will be completed by November 2013” which will add “the very best teaching facilities to our traditional grammar school buildings.”

The school’s opening in September 2012 was surrounded with controversy when a governor at the school said, “Gays would be welcome to the school, but we would not encourage it.” Critics also questioned the need for another secondary school in the area when there were already surplus places.

The Government’s school information database, Edubase, confirms that there are nearly 700 spare places already in three secondary schools within a five mile radius of Camborne.

The National Audit Office is to look at the establishment of free schools. Perhaps they will question whether establishing a free school in an area with so many surplus places and then spending £3.5 million pound on extending it is really an appropriate use of taxpayers’ money.


Disclaimer: Figures are from Edubase. They may not be correct. For example, Edubase says St Michael’s Catholic Secondary School only has capacity for 55 pupils and has 24 on roll.

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