MP: Go-ahead for Luton Girls’ Academy was ‘bonkers’

Luton South MP Gavin Shuker
Luton South MP Gavin Shuker

Plans for a Luton free school, which has been axed just seven months before its opening, were “bonkers” according to MP Gavin Shuker.

On Thursday the Department for Education decided to make a U-turn on its support for Luton Girls’ Academy – an all girls free school due to open in September.

The decision comes days after our sister paper the Herald & Post reported that a site for the school had still not been finalised, leaving the 58 sets of parents who listed the academy as their first choice in the dark.

In a letter to Mr Shuker, Lord John Nash said that there had been “unsufficient progress” made on the school before its planned opening.

He added: “The project has fallen short of the rigorous criteria we have set for free schools.”

Speaking to the Luton News, Gavin Shuker slammed the DfE’s decision to give the academy the go-ahead last June.

He said: “The one thing we need in Luton is certainty over the provision of places and the free school programme has destroyed that.

“This is very concerning for parents who thought they would have a school place for their children and may now have to bus them up to Stopsley or Ashcroft.”

The team behind the original free school bid, Ace Trust Ltd, was fronted by proposed headteacher Saiqa Laiqat.

Yesterday the school contacted parents to say that it is “deeply saddened” by the decision, but Ms Liaqat did not return our calls.

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