The BBC reports that Toby Young's controversial Free School, to be based in Hammersmith after a brief stay in Shepherd's Bush, has been given the formal go ahead by the Government and will now proceed to purchase the Palingswick House site which is being sold by the Council.
The fate of the voluntary sector organisations curently resident in the building is unclear and hasd been the subject to much local controversy in re cent months.
Free Schooler Mr Young has been the subject of much criticism during the course of those debates and has responded to them in a typically robust manner. Speaking to the Beeb after the announcement was made by Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove in the House of Commons, the Free Schooler said:
"It's too early to say whether the free schools policy will be a success, but we have at least proved that a group of unpaid volunteers can establish a new school.A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said:
"Whatever reservations you may have about voluntary groups delivering public services, we have put paid to the myth that people simply won't have the time"
"I can't pretend it's been easy. Nothing worth doing ever is. As the leader of the project, I've devoted between 40 and 60 hours a week to it for the last 18 months. My wife often jokes that if I spent the same amount of time on my career as I spend on the school we could afford to send all our children to Eton.
"We are very pleased to confirm that the secretary of state has signed the funding agreement for the West London Free School, which plans to open in September this year.So good luck to our newest school - whatever the sound and fury has been it is now here to stay, and even in his most recent criticism of the school our MP Andy Slaughter pledged to work with the school should it eventually arrive, which has appeared inevitable for a long time now. Speaking to me here he said:
"Free schools will provide all children - not just the rich - the opportunity to go to a good school with great teaching, strong discipline and small class sizes."
"If the free school opens the local community will have to make the best of it - as will I."Well it's here - the first in the UK, in keeping with our Council's "flagship" Tory status, and surely it's now incumbent on all involved in public life to make it a success.