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Plans to open free secondary school in Wembley postponed

PUBLISHED: 17:48 09 May 2014 | UPDATED: 17:48 09 May 2014

Johnny Kyriacou is the principal of Gateway Academy

Johnny Kyriacou is the principal of Gateway Academy

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Plans to open a free secondary school in Wembley this September have been postponed leaving 85 children in limbo.

The Gateway Academy missed its deadline to secure premises in time for the next academic year.

Parents who accepted a place at the school will now be forced to look elsewhere.

The opening of the school has now been deferred to autumn 2015.

Gateway promises to offer small class sizes and extra curricular activities with 100 pupils in each year group.

It will reach capacity after seven years with students ranging in age from 11 to 18,

Johnny Kyriacou, Gateway’s principal, said: “I am truly sorry we were not able to make it happen for this year but it was matters outside our control, namely in finding a site, which the Department for Education (DfE) sets out to do for all free schools.

“The support from parents for Gateway Academy has been overwhelming and humbling.

“We know the local community in Brent are very passionate and care very much about their children and their education and we are very sorry we will not be able to serve our local community this year.”

Jean Roberts, from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ALT) executive and Brent National Union of Teachers (NUT) secretary, has been spoken out against free schools.

She said: “We are campaigning for local authorities to be given back the power to build schools where they are needed.

“However, it is devastating for the pupils and parents of those who were intending to attend.”

Gateway is not the only free secondary school that has struggled to find a suitable site in the borough.

Gladstone School has told families to accept places from other schools as it battles to secure suitable premises in time for this September.

A DfE spokesman, said “Despite an extensive search, we have been unable to secure a site for Gateway Academy in time for a September 2014 opening. We are continuing to work closely with the trust to secure a site for September 2015.

“No decision has been made yet on the Gladstone School site.”

Brent Council has reassured parent there are enough places in the borough for children who have applied for Gateway and Gladstone.

If parents have any concerns they should contact our admissions team on 020 8937 3110 or school.admissions@brent.gov.uk

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