Hackney free school tight-lipped over delayed opening


Hackney Wick Academy. Photograph: Hackney Wick Academy

A Hackney free school is waiting for the outcome of the General Election to say why its opening has been pushed back a year.

Secondary free school Hackney Wick Academy had planned to open in September 2015, but that has now changed to September 2016 at the earliest.

Approached by the Hackney Citizen, Hackney Wick Academy was tight-lipped about the reason for the delay, stating it would be unable to comment until after the General Election on 7 May.

“We are not in a position to comment on our reason for the delay until after the election,” said Jessica Dix, a director of the school and Education Development Director at Debate Mate, the charity behind the free school.

Free schools, which are independent of local authorities, have long been controversial. In its General Election manifesto, the Labour Party has pledged to end the Conservative Party’s “wasteful” free schools programme.

Approved free schools receive a £300,000 pre-opening grant from the Department for Education (DfE). If the school does not go ahead, any unspent money will returned to the DfE.

Set up by the team behind education charity Debate Mate, Hackney Wick Academy was earlier this week at risk of being struck off by Companies House for failing to file its annual return, due in January 2015.

The AR01 form must be submitted annually by all active companies regardless of whether they are trading, detailing information including company directors, shareholders, and registered addresses.

Failure to file an annual return can result in personal prosecution and fines of up to £5,000.

A spokesperson for Companies House told the Hackney Citizen that several default letters had been sent to Hackney Wick Academy’s registered address without a reply.

Hackney Wick Academy declined to comment on the reason for the delayed return.

The proposal to strike off the company has been removed from HWA’s Companies House listing, but no return has been filed.




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