Newham free school plans collapse due to ‘lack of applicants’

A free school that was set to open in Newham has collapsed weeks before its planned launch.

The Newham Free Academy, which was yet to secure a suitable site, will no longer open in September after reportedly receiving just nine student applications.

Plans for the proposed mixed secondary school were approved by government last autumn.

It was backed by Redeemer Educational Services, which is linked to the Redeemed Christian Church of God Open Heavens Sanctuary.

Former Hackney councillor and Speaker Alofasade Bright was listed as governor, while ex-headteacher and science teacher Funmi Gbadeyan was due to take charge.

Speaking to the Recorder, Mrs Gbadeyan said they were preparing to release the full reasons for the collapse. She said: “We have a big story to tell. We will give the full details when we can.”

Two other free schools due to open in September, the Eton-backed London Academy of Excellence in Stratford, and School 21, will go ahead as planned.

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According to the Newham Free Academy’s website, the school pledged “to deliver a traditional, holistic education, with high expectations of academic excellence and a curriculum with a commitment to intellectual freedom, independent and collaborative learning.”

Mandarin, French, German or Spanish were listed as mandatory subjects and all pupils were to sit at least eight GCSEs as part of the national curriculum, including English, English literature, mathematics, history and science.

The school’s collapse was revealed in a parliamentary answer on July 12, by schools minister Nick Gibb.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Newham Free Academy unfortunately did not progress sufficiently for it to proceed. Two new Free Schools - School 21 and the London Academy of Excellence - will however be opening in Newham this September.

“Setting up a Free School is not an easy task; securing a site can be particularly difficult and all groups deserve credit for the hard work that they put in at every stage of the process.”