The ‘Wood & Vale’ reports;
“Parents have called for better regulation of free schools after claiming they had nowhere to turn when filing a complaint about one in Westminster.
Two mothers who pulled their children out of CET Primary School in Edgware Road claim they were let down by a system which means the school is not linked to the council and is too far removed from the Department for Education.
The mothers, who have asked not to be identified for the sake of their children, claim they had numerous complaints about the school but could only raise them with staff and not any outside body.
One mother claimed she was only told the school would be moving from a location in North Wharf road to its current base when submitting her son’s acceptance documents.
She also claims children have no outside space for break time or PE and promises about frequent school trips never came to fruition.
The mother said: “One of the worst things was when we found out very late on that the previous head had gone and a new one come in.
“There was no official communication with parents and no-one knew who the new head was until the first day of term. It is now clear to us that some free schools are being set up almost naively and nobody is monitoring what is going on. With a free school a board may be established to oversee the running, but when a parent feels the board is not performing, who do you turn to then?
“The gap between a free school and the Department for Education is too great for one parent’s concerns to be taken seriously.”
Because of its free school status, CETPS is managed directly by the government, rather than the local authority.
It is due to undergo an Ofsted inspection before September this year, the maximum time new schools can go without an assessment.
Richard Simmons, chairman of CET primary schools, defended the school and invited prospective parents to go down to the site in Edgware Road and see how it operates.
He said: “We have a comprehensive complaints procedure and take all concerns very seriously. We encourage readers to view the ‘parent view’ on the Ofsted website and draw their own conclusions. We would welcome any interested reader to visit the school.”