Education Secretary Michael Gove confirms Harperbury Free School will open in 2015

A free school in Radlett will not open until September 2015, a year later than originally planned, it has been confirmed.

Harperbury Free School was due to open this September in the former Harperbury Hospital in Harpers Lane.

However, schools’ minister Lord Nash announced in February the Department for Education had failed to secure the site in time, meaning its opening would be delayed for a year.

Parents who were hoping to send their children to the school set up an action group supported by MPs Anne Main and James Clappison, who met Education Secretary Michael Gove and were promised he would personally intervene to help decide the future of the school.

Mr Gove has now confirmed the school will open in September 2015.

He said in a letter he had "carefully considered" all the factors determining whether Harperbury Free School could open in September 2014 and, unfortunately could not see a way this for this to happen. Mr Gove said he appreciated this "must be disappointing news".

Clive Glover, founding governor of the school, said he was "disappointed but not surprised" at the result.

He said: "When we met with Lord Nash earlier this month he said he could not agree to our opening in a temporary building without a permanent site having been secured because he did not want to open a school and then later have to close it later because they could not find a permanent site.

"We wish to thank our two MPs, James Clappison and Anne Main, who have worked very hard speaking to both education and health ministers to try to resolve the situation for us.

"There is now nothing more we can do to open this year, so we must concentrate on ensuring we can do so next year. This means putting our efforts into ensuring we have a site secured as soon as possible this year so we can provide confidence to parents applying in October for places at our school for September 2015."

In response to strong demand from the 2014 parents, the school is now considering taking Year 8 pupils into the school in 2015, alongside the Year 7s.

This would allow families let down by this recent deferment to attend the school, albeit a year later.

If parents are interested in signing up for the school they should email admissions@harperbury.org.uk by Wednesday, April 9.

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