Harperbury Free School parents set up action group to fight decision to delay school's opening

Borehamwood Times: The action group The action group

Parents have formed an action group to fight the decision to delay the opening of an “inspiring” free school.

At a meeting to discuss the future of Harperbury Free School held in Shenley Chapel, Shenley Park last night, parents vowed they would “do what it takes” to have the school opened in 2014.

Addressing the audience of parents, prospective teachers and school governors, mother Sharon Lang said she “refused to accept” Harperbury Free School would not be opened in time for her daughter in Year 6.

She said: “This area desperately needs a school and it would be wonderful to have one my children could walk to. Harperbury is going to be a trailblazer. Its holistic education and headteacher Martin Blain’s futuristic vision will produce well-rounded adults.

“I won’t be sending my children to different schools so my son in Year 5 will miss out too.

“I have had to explain to my children the best thing has been taken away from them and they are only worth second best, because any other school will be second best.

“People haven’t come to the meeting because they think there is nothing we can do. But this is not a closed door, we have an opportunity to change this.”

Jane Moraru, who lives in London Colney, said they had set up an action group and encouraged people to write in and express their support for the school.

She said: “We can fight this.”

The school had already identified a “perfectly good” temporary site at the Postgraduate Centre on the Harperbury site in Harpers Lane in Radlett, which was used for education until a few weeks ago.

Only schools minister Lord Nash’s rule that a school cannot open in a temporary site before a permanent one is found prevents them using it.

Daniel Posner has already written to Prime Minister David Cameron and to Lord Nash asking them to overturn this rule, and urged others to do the same.

Headteacher Martin Blain said everything was still on track, even though a permanent site had not been found, and if that was secured by May the school could still go ahead this year. 

He said: “People think the fight is over, which is why many of the parents did not come to the meeting, but it is clearly not.

"We had to make the difficult decision to delay our opening until 2015.

“But if we put pressure on the ministers we could make 2014 a possibility. Joining the parents' action group is a move in the right direction.

“There is no avenue we will leave unexplored, we will do all we can to give this cohort of children the education they have applied for.”

To learn more about the action group, email harperburyparentsgroup@gmail.com

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