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£200,000 spent on axed Bradford One in a Million free school
7:00am Tuesday 4th September 2012 in News
Hundreds of pupils will walk through the doors of two new free schools opening in Bradford today, as it emerged the Government had already spent £200,000 on the city’s axed One in a Million scheme.
Dixons Trinity Academy will this morning see its first intake of 112 year seven students begin lessons, while Dixons Music Primary – the country’s first specialist music primary school – will open on the same Trinity Road site under the Government’s free schools programme.
But as the Telegraph & Argus reported last week, a third free school in the city which was also due to open – the One in a Million Free School based at Bradford City's Valley Parade ground – had the thousands of pounds needed to fund it refused by the Department for Education. Yesterday, Education Secretary Michael Gove faced criticism after he confirmed £200,000 had already been spent on the project, which left 30 students without a school place and parents in floods of tears when it was axed amid concerns over pupil numbers. He said he hoped the school would be able to open in 2013.
Councillor Ralph Berry , Bradford Council’s executive member for children’s services, said the “vast majority” of pupils had now been allocated new school places, but questioned whether it was right “for Mr Gove to play fast and loose with £200,000”.
“We are supporting parents and pupils and, as the local authority, that’s what we’re here for, but Mr Gove has offered no clarity about the decision at all and parents are still upset. It’s just chaos,” he said.
Luke Sparkes, headteacher of Dixons Trinity Academy, said it was already over-subscribed. The school will build up to its full capacity of 720 students from across the city from year seven to year 13 over the next six years.
“By working hard to improve day by day, by taking responsibility for what we do and sharing a clear sense of purpose, we will ensure that every child at Trinity fulfils their potential,” Mr Sparkes said. “We have been planning this school for about two years and today is the day all our planning and hard work becomes a reality.”
Dixons Music Academy, which will open with one reception class in the refurbished Trinity building, will grow into a two-form entry primary school up to year six when it moves to purpose-built accommodation next September.
Michelle Long, headteacher of Dixons Music Primary, said the school already had a waiting list.
“We are very privileged to open our new school in such excellent and spacious accommodation while we wait for our new building to be completed,” she said. “Specialised tuition will take place daily and music will be embedded throughout the curriculum. Through music, we aim to grow independent hard working children who enjoy their learning”.