Northern Lights free school rejected by Department for Education

8th April 2010. 'Linda Riordan MP for Halifax.

8th April 2010. 'Linda Riordan MP for Halifax.

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Plans for a controversial new free school in Park ward has been rejected by the Department for Education (DfE) following a review.

Halifax MP Linda Riordan had called for an investigation into the proposed Northern Lights Primary School after accusations of links with extremism.

This was following a letter from the nearby Sunniyy Centre, Francis Street, Halifax, that upset parents.

After investigating the matter the DfE has confirmed that they will be withdrawing any funding agreement with the school.

Linda Riordan MP said: “This is a sensible decision, taking in the best interests of community cohesion and education provision in the town.

“It obviously took a lot of thought from the Minister, but it’s the right thing to have done.

“There are some excellent mainstream schools across all communities in Halifax and long may that continue to be the case.

“I have never thought free schools are a good idea and this issue has only confirmed my doubts.

“This decision should strengthen educational provision in Halifax and ensure our many fantastic local schools continue to go from strength to strength.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Setting up a free school is not an easy task. The proposers of the Northern Lights Free School have worked hard on their project. However, our priority has to be to open free schools with the best chance of performing strongly from the outset and giving children a first-class education.

“Unfortunately, in this case, we judged that the capacity and capability of the group was not sufficient for the project to proceed.”