Ministers close the secondary section of a ‘chaotic’ free school

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A TROUBLED Muslim free school branded “chaotic and dysfunctional” by Ofsted is to stop teaching secondary pupils from this summer.

The Government has stepped in after a damning inspection report at Derby’s Al-Madinah school last year condemned the quality of teaching, the curriculum, and branded the relationship between senior leaders “destructive and deteriorating”.

The newly appointed chair of governors Barry Day, brought in by the Department for Education (DfE) to turn the school around, said the blame lay squarely with the old trust board, which was replaced last week. Schools minister Lord Nash said: “I have come to the conclusion that it would simply not be in the interests of parents or pupils at the secondary school to continue to fund provision which has failed them in the manner now apparent.” He said the move would allow the trust to focus on the primary school.

Within a year the school was under investigation by the Education Funding Agency over alleged irregularities. In October Ofsted branded the school “dysfunctional”, prompting Lord Nash to announce that a new education trust was being brought in, but before Christmas inspectors reported that there was still “no sign of improvement”.

Critics have held the situation up as an example of the problems with the coalition’s flagship free schools policy. It is one of three free schools which have been the source of controversy along with the Kings Science Academy in Bradford, which is subject to a police investigation into alleged fraud, and the Discovery Free School in Crawley which the DfE has already decided to close.