The opening of Hope Community School, Southampton's first mainstream Free School, has been deferred until September 2017.
The school was due to open in September this year, but delays in the purchase of a site for the school have meant that it hasn't been possible to acquire a site in the timeframe needed to secure a Funding Agreement before National Offer Day for Primary school places. Up until very recently, it was believed that acquisition of a site was very close; however, the land-owner for the preferred site has now rejected a final purchase offer made by the Education Funding Agency. Another site has since been identified and purchase negotiations have started, but unfortunately the sale won't now be finalised in the timeframe available.
Paul Weston, Chair of New Generation Schools Trust, said: "Because of the long period of time this process has taken, and particularly because of where we are now in the primary school admissions cycle, the Department for Education and the Trust have agreed to defer the opening of the new school to September 2017.
"Although we realise this will be disappointing for many of the school’s supporters and we aware of many parents who were depending on the school opening in 2016, we are unable to secure Funding Agreement without a permanent site.
"Deferral gives certainty to parents seeking primary school places for 2016, and we hope that it will mean that prospective 2017 parents will have clarity on the school’s site when they are considering this new option. We remain resolute on providing the children whom we have the privilege to serve with a high quality learning experiences and offering a new, alternative choice for Southampton.”
You can read the full press release issued by New Generations School Trust, on the Hope Community School, Southampton, website.
You can watch a video about the school here: