Leaders of a Christian school have decided not to commence a legal challenge to a controversial announcement by the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to pull its funding.
The Durham Free School had been told it must close, following an Ofsted report which the Chairman of Governors says “contradicts a whole raft of evidence”.
A statement released by the school on Saturday said it was with “great sadness” that the decision had been taken not to legally challenge the school’s closure.
Miscarriage of justice
“Even if successful, it would do little to assure the school stayed open”, the statement said.
“Our priority must be to focus on helping the children and their families who have been so badly affected by this terrible miscarriage of justice and to make their last days at the school, which has become like a second family to many, as happy and celebratory as possible.”
“We will continue to work to expose the corruption and campaign of misinformation that has been used to destroy the school”, it continued.
The school thanked the “brilliant” staff “who have been slandered in parliament, have had their livelihoods threatened and yet have been exemplary professionals, putting aside their own worries to keep strong for our children and have looked after and educated them so well through this distressing time”.
The statement stressed that public money had not been wasted, but that pupils’ time at the school has had an “extremely positive, and in many cases, a truly transformational impact” on their lives.
One pupil, Sophie Dinning, said the school had been like a family to her, and that the teachers had given her the best education she could ever have.
And her father told ITV News that they have been through “every emotion in the last seven weeks, bewilderment at the report because nobody recognised it, then anger at the things that were said about the school and now devastation”.
Following Nicky Morgan’s original announcement at the end of January to withdraw funding, the school responded saying that she had pre-judged the case and had a closed mind on the matter.
More than 50 pupils wrote to Morgan, making a heartfelt plea for her not to close the school.
But at the end of February, Morgan confirmed the decision to close the school.
The Chairman of Governors, John Denning, had already complained to Ofsted about the claims it made in a report, published after an inspection in November.
He also accused inspectors visiting the school of adopting an “aggressive” questioning technique when talking to pupils. Students aged 11 – 14 were asked inappropriate questions, such as “Have you had ‘The Talk’?” and “How have you learned how to make a baby?”.