Cornwall

Camborne's £4.5m St Michael's free school 'not viable'

St Michael's School
Image caption St Michael's first Ofsted report last year report said the school "requires improvement"

A free school that cost taxpayers £4.5m to open is "not a viable proposition" and is to be taken over by a larger school, its sponsors said.

St Michael's Catholic secondary school in Camborne is the only free school in Cornwall and opened with about 60 pupils in 2012.

But, it has failed to attract enough students and suffered "significant financial problems" as a result.

A parent of two daughters at the school said he was "appalled".

The school attracted more than £4.5m in public funds, to enable it to be restored and extended, and received a "requires improvement" rating from Ofsted in June 2014.

St Michael's has been sponsored by Camborne Science and International Academy (CSIA) since February and the two will fully merge in September.

'Quality of education'

Parent Neil Shepherd said St Michael's was being "swallowed up" by CSIA.

He said: "The children are affected - particularly the older ones who are just about to sit their exams."

St Michael's did not comment but referred to a CSIA statement on the takeover plans.

The statement said it was agreed "St Michael's as a separate school is not a viable proposition, both financially and in the quality of educational opportunities and experiences it can offer the students".

Image copyright St Michael's School
Image caption Neil Anderson did not return to the school after the summer holidays last year

Current Year 10 students will continue lessons at St Michael's next year but all other students will be offered classes at CSIA.

The Department for Education did not respond to questions regarding the value for money offered by the investment in the school.

The future of the St Michael's site is not clear but CSIA said it hoped to create a centre of excellence there.

The school's original head teacher, Neil Anderson, resigned for personal reasons in July 2014 but it later emerged he had been under investigation by school governors.

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