17 Jun '14

News Will Durand's 'Eton-style' boarding school for state pupils ever materialise? | Fiona Millar

Questions hang over the proposed boarding academy about its financial viability and its benefit to childrenIt has been dubbed the Eton of the state sector, a "Harry Potter" type school nestled in the South Downs, aimed at giving a public school boarding education to some of London's most disadvantaged children. But less than three months before the Durand Boarding Academy is due to open its doors in the sleepy West Sussex village of Stedham, confusion surrounds the long-term future of what has been called one of Michael Gove's pet projects.Refurbishment of the site, which should be home from September to a year-8 cohort currently at Durand's middle school in South London, does not appear to be under way. Classroom blocks are without roofs; there are rumours that the buildings have limited water supply, and local concerns about sewage treatment. The only functional part of the property is a Grade II listed Norman Shaw country house which, according to local residents, can at best house around 50 pupils if it is to accommodate teaching and boarding provision under current government guidelines. Continue reading...

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