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Plans for new Tottenham school halted after academy provider pulls out

15:00 14 September 2012

AESE managing director Stephanie Pinnock.

AESE managing director Stephanie Pinnock.

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Plans for a new combined primary and secondary school in Tottenham have been dealt a major blow after the charity chosen to run the school pulled out just a month after being given the go-ahead.

In July, the Department for Education (DfE) approved plans by academy provider Harris Federation to set up the new school from next September with the Academy of Entrepreneurship and Sporting Excellence (AESE), a group of parents, teachers and residents.

But following a disagreement between the two groups last month, the Harris Federation have now decided to pull out of the deal to provide a school for four to 19-year-olds.

A Harris Federation spokesman said the organisation were “delighted” to have been given DfE approval in July but since then it had “become clear” that “AESE have changed how they would like the school to be developed”.

Stephanie Pinnock, managing director of AESE, said the group wanted to deliver a “free school” with a “unique selling point”.

She explained: “Harris wanted to deliver their standard school, it was turning out that it was going to be a bog standard academy and that was not what was required in this community.

“We want to work with the community with the school being an integral part of redeveloping Tottenham.”

AESE have now been given until October to submit a new application to the DfE for a free school in Tottenham.

Ms Pinnock said the group were still determined to deliver the school on their own from next September and had received a letter of support from the DfE.

However, a DfE spokeswoman said the proposal was “now fundamentally different from the one that was assessed and approved as a joint one with Harris”.

She added: “We need to be certain that, without the support of Harris, AESE has the capability, capacity and expertise to deliver a school of the size proposed.”

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