New build Floreat free school in Wokingham didn’t open as expected

Janet Downs's picture

Floreat Silver Meadow primary school was due to open in September 2018 in a brand-new building.   But the long-awaited school, originally scheduled to open in temporary accommodation in September 2016,  did not open as expected.  

Floreat Education Academies Trust (FEAT) * says this was due to ‘very low pupil numbers’ caused by ‘slower than projected growth of the housing development that the school was built to serve’.

Floreat funding agreement to run Silver Meadow terminated

FEAT has now terminated its funding agreement for the school, the accounts* reveal.  This would allow Wokingham Borough Council to find a new sponsor when pupil numbers are sufficient to allow the school to open.  In the meantime, I assume the school is mothballed.

Cost of building Floreat Silver Meadow not known

The construction costs of Floreat Silver Meadow are not known despite the building being completed.  The school wasn’t included in the updated list of capital funding for free schools (downloadable here). 

£2m spent on temporary accommodation for Floreat Brentford, now closed

The list did reveal that capital costs for Floreat Brentford’s temporary accommodation were £2m.    The school has now closed – Hounslow Council and FEAT blamed each other.

£750k paid to Southall College for costs related to unopened Floreat free school in Southall

The DfE’s Annual Report and Accounts for financial year 2017/18 showed that £750k compensation for ‘costs incurred’ relating to a proposed Floreat free school in Southall was paid to Southall College. 

FEAT, founded by former Downing Street aide James (now Lord) O’Shaughnessy, currently has no free schools.  The trust runs two sponsored academies, Floreat Wandsworth and Floreat Montague Park.  One free school, Floreat Spencers Wood, Wokingham, is scheduled to open this September.  Two proposed Floreat free schools, Floreat Southall and Floreat Alperton, Colindale, never opened.  Floreat Brentford opened in 2015 but has now closed.


*Accounts for year ending 31 August 2018 available from Companies House

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Jane Eades's picture
Sat, 09/02/2019 - 17:27

"Lord O’Shaughnessy was appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and a Government Whip (Lord in Waiting) in December 2016."

Matthew Bennett's picture
Sun, 10/02/2019 - 08:36

For more on Floreat, 'character education', and the chain's rather colourful US connections, see:

John Mountford's picture
Mon, 11/02/2019 - 13:50

The 'bad smell' created by such events as you describe here, Janet, should signal that something is fundamentally wrong with how public funds are unaccounted for and the shocking waste involved in far too many 'new enterprise' projects that masquerade under the general umbrella of 'new schools' simply disappearing. If this is how the functions of democracies can be perverted by the unelected, unaccountable power classes, then bring on the revolution!!

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