Tyne & Wear

Durham Free School head to appeal over funding removal

Durham free School Image copyright Google
Image caption Durham Free School opened in September 2013

The acting head teacher of a Durham school has said he will appeal against a government decision to end its funding.

Durham Free School was put in special measures after being rated inadequate "in all areas" by Ofsted.

Julian Eisner said the school was not given the chance to improve before education secretary Nicky Morgan announced funding had been terminated.

He said he accepted there were "issues" but said that they were being tackled.

He said the November inspection took place at a "vulnerable time" for the school, as he had just taken over as acting head teacher.

He said: "We know we are not perfect. We are very open about the things we need to improve, but parents have expressed confidence in the team we have here to really care for their children and provide them with the education they need and deserve.

"No school is without its problems. Pioneering a new school is a very challenging project."

'Immature manner'

Mrs Morgan said children were being "let down by a catalogue of failures" with no "imminent prospect of improvement".

She said the school was "failing to ensure children are looked after, failing to provide an environment in which children are able to learn and failing to provide the quality of education that we expect".

Mr Eisner said the school, just 18 months in existence, did not yet have older children to act as role models for the younger students.

He said: "They often behave in a somewhat immature manner, and the behaviour can sometimes be very challenging, but the picture given of bullying being endemic, and discriminatory language being used... parents do not recognise [this] description of the school."

One mother spoken to by the BBC said: "My child is happy here. She has improved. Every other school after a bad Ofsted [inspection] is given a chance with new leadership to put things right, but we haven't."

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