Gove rejects IoE free school

Michael Gove has vetoed plans for a free school sponsored by the Institute of Education, as the proposal failed to reach the government’s “high bar”

February 19, 2014

Parents campaigning for a new secondary school in Holborn, central London, have reacted angrily to news that their proposals to convert workshops and studios have been labelled “not viable” by the Department for Education.

The news has been described as a “bolt out of the blue” by the Labour leader of Camden Council, Sarah Hayward, who said she was mystified by the decision given the IoE’s educational expertise.

The IoE, part of the University of London, had planned to establish the institution as a University Training School, to train new teachers.

“Here is a sponsor which is a leading education specialist maybe not just in this country but in Europe and it can’t get approval,” Cllr Hayward told the Camden New Journal.

“Compare that to some of the other rag-tag organisations that have been given approval and where - some seem to have set up in old scout huts and still get a ‘yes’ - and you have to think there is an ulterior motive,” she added.

Cllr Hayward also claimed the rejection was “politically motivated”.

The decision is likely to be a blow to the IoE, which is due to merge with University College London later this year, as several universities have been involved in setting up schools.

A DfE spokeswoman said the project has been “unable to reach the high bar we have set and we have withdrawn our approval for it to proceed any further”.

“All free schools must meet strict criteria,” she added.

She said the DfE had “worked closely with the Institute of Education on the Holborn schools” to ensure it could “deliver a high quality alternative to existing provision in the area and represented value for money”.

She added: “We have informed the Institute of Education of our decision and are grateful for the considerable time and commitment they gave to developing the application.”

In a letter to the education secretary, parents from the ‘Where is My School?’ campaign backing the plans said: “Your sudden and apparently final decision goes against everything our community has been encouraged to believe over the past three years and so, charged with the job of explaining this extraordinary U-turn to hundreds of local parents and children, we are writing to ask you to take time to explain it to us.”

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

David Parkins Christmas illustration (22 December 2016)

A Dickensian tale, set in today’s university

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard