Tory shambles over phantom free school
Croydon North MP Steve Reed has condemned the Tory Government for wasting £82,000 of public money on a free school that will never open. The Advance Free School was set to open on playing fields in Thornton Heath despite public dismay about the loss of more green space in the neighbourhood. The free school was the pet project of former Tory councillor Russell King who was handed thousands of pounds of tax-payers’ money before pulling the plug on the new school just weeks before work was due to begin.
Children in Croydon face the country’s most severe shortage of school places after the Government diverted funding away from Croydon to wealthier areas with no shortage of places. News that the school will not be opening comes only weeks before the deadline for primary school applications. Steve Reed MP, who first exposed the extent of phantom free schools in the Independent Newspaper, called on the Government to work with communities to build new schools in places where they’re needed and stop handing scarce public money to David Cameron’s cronies.
Steve said: “This is more evidence of the waste and incompetence that has marked the Tories’ education free-for-all. Thousands of pounds have been wasted and taxpayers kept in the dark. In Croydon we’ve got the biggest shortage of school places in the country, record numbers of unqualified teachers, and children being taught in portakabins. But instead of using public money to sort that out they prefer to let their Tory friends throw it down the drain. Croydon’s children and parents deserve better than this.”