The leaders of a Christian school which Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has promised to close have argued that she is ‘biased’ in her decision making.
Lawyers acting for The Durham Free School have challenged the legality of her announcement to withdraw funding from the school, saying that she has a “closed mind” on the matter.
The school submitted an 18-page legal challenge to the Department for Education (DfE) ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
Aughton Ainsworth, the international law firm representing the school, said it has serious concerns over whether Mrs Morgan’s announcement was lawful.
The legal challenge states that Mrs Morgan has prejudged the case of The Durham Free School, as procedure demands that she hear submissions first, before making a final decision.
The challenge, addressed to Nicky Morgan, states: “Our client has no confidence in your ability to make a fair, proportionate and lawful final decision in relation to the future of the school since you are not open to any representations”.
It also warns that if Mrs Morgan refuses to back down, the Trust representing the school may pursue a judicial review.
More than 50 pupils at The Durham Free School also wrote to Nicky Morgan, making a heartfelt plea for her not to close the school.
Jessica Goodwin, who is 12, wrote: “What are you trying to do to our school? Is it really worth breaking these students’ hearts just to get election votes?”
Speaking to the Newcastle Chronicle, eleven-year-old Chelsea Peat addressed Nicky Morgan, asking her not to judge the school “when you haven’t seen it with your own eyes”.
The chair of governors for The Durham Free School, John Denning, has made an official complaint against schools’ regulator Ofsted for claims it made about the school.
Mr Denning accuses Ofsted inspectors of asking a range of inappropriate questions to children aged 11-14 including: “Have you had ‘The Talk’?” and “Have you learned how to make a baby?”.
The legal challenge and letters from pupils have been sent to the DfE and are awaiting a response.