‘Shameful’: Tech City College Academy to close as millions wasted on ‘experiment’
09 August, 2019 — By Calum Fraser
Tech City College, which is due to close this month
AN academy will close at the end of the month, the government has confirmed, sparking accusations by the Town Hall of “shameful” money wasting.
Tech City College, in City Road, Clerkenwell, will shut its doors on August 31 after a consultation led by the Department for Education (DfE) concluded that it was not viable, the Tribune can reveal.
Islington’s education chief slammed the DfE for wasting millions of pounds on the project.
As the Tribune previously reported, the academy cost the taxpayer more than £13million when it was set up as a free school, called STEM 6th Form Academy, in 2014 .
A further £5.5million was pumped into the school over the next three years as it received the lowest Ofsted rating, “inadequate”, in that period.
Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, executive member for children, young people and families, said: “The DfE’s decision to close Tech City College is yet another shameful example of this government’s failed experiments with the education system.
“It is disgraceful to play with the future of our young people in this way.
“It also shows little regard for the livelihoods of talented teachers.
“Millions of pounds of scarce resources have been wasted by the government – money which could and should have been invested in mainstream education in Islington.”
Free schools – a flagship policy of former Conservative education secretary Michael Gove – can be set up by an organisation or a group of individuals.
They are funded directly by the DfE, like academies, and are not controlled by the council.
Multi-academy chain Aspirations Academies Trust (AAT) took control of the school in 2015. The trust applied to the DfE to close the school in February this year, citing falling pupil numbers.
The college has capacity for about 400 pupils but only 49 enrolled last year.
A DfE spokesman said: “Following a request from the trust, we have decided to close Tech City College on August 31.
“Our priority is to ensure that pupils continue to receive a strong education, and the trust and local authority are working together to ensure appropriate provision has been found for students following the closure.”