Update: New places found for Romford free school students
13:00 21 August 2014
More than 40 children that were anticipating starting at Romford’s first free school in September will now start in strange surroundings after the school postponed its opening at the eleventh hour.
Havering’s education cabinet member Cllr Meg Davis admitted finding places was “challenging” but on Wednesday announced that places had been found for all 43 children who were due to start at Oasis Academy.
The primary, owned by Oasis Community Learning, was due to open temporarily in the grounds of Romford YMCA, in Rush Green Road, but that fell through earlier this month.
An Oasis spokesman insisted a new site had been found but on Friday morning admitted that the school’s opening would be in 2015.
The site owners pulled out “at the last minute” because the deal is not “commercially viable” for them, the spokesman said.
“We therefore have no choice but to postpone the opening of the academy rather than to launch it in sub-standard conditions,” he said.
Cllr Meg Davis said: “While it was challenging to find 43 places at short notice, it is because of our good relationship with schools that we were able to do this quickly, to avoid any further anxiety for the families affected.”
The school’s spokesman initially claimed that up to 130 children would attend the school but last week a colleague adjusted the figure to 41.