‘The Department for Education has rejected the characterisation of changes at a north London school as a second closure for its flagship free schools programme’
, 13 August 2014
The denial was in response to my claim
that Hartsbrook E-Act Free School, judged Inadequate on all four counts in January 2014, was to be closed and re-opened with a new sponsor, new name and new unique reference number. The consultation accompanying the change had clearly said the replacement for Hartsbrook E-Act Free School would be a new free school opening in September 2014.
But the Department for Education (DfE) rejected my claim. However, the DfE School Performance Tables contradict the DfE’s denial. The table for Hartsbrook E-Act Free School says the school has closed
. The table for its replacement, Brook House Primary School
, says clearly:
‘This is a new school opened 01 September 2014
School Performance Tables usually link* to predecessor schools when schools convert to academies despite academies technically being new schools. But there is no such reference on the table for Brook House Primary School - it is designated 'a new school'.
As a ‘new school’, it will not be inspected again until 2015/16. It will not be subject to monitoring like other schools judged Inadequate. Ofsted, too, is clear: Hartsbrook E-Act Free School is closed.
It appears, then, that the closure of Hartsborok E-Act Free Schools is the second** closure for the ‘flagship free schools programme’. But this second closure has happened beneath the radar and hasn’t been widely reported.
12.38 Another E-Act free school, Aldborough E-Act, judged Good in February 2013, has also been transferred to another sponsor
and changed its name to Aldborough Primary School. But it has not closed in the same way as Hartsbrook E-Act has been closed. School performance tables
make no reference to Aldborough E-Act having shut down. Edubase
says the school opened in September 2011. Ofsted has changed the name of the school but the report
for Aldborough E-Act still stands. So why was it necessary to officially close Hartsbrook E-Act when it wasn't necessary for Aldborough E-Act? A cynic might answer the question thus: Hartsbrook E-Act was Inadequate, closing it reduces the number (and proportion) of failing free schools.
**Discovery New School was the first free school to be closed. The closure of Al-Madinah free school was not a full closure: only its secondary department was closed. It’s still open as a primary school.
NOTE: This is a companion piece to my thread on how reducing the number of Inadequate free schools also lowers the proportion of free schools deemed to be failing (see sidebar).