BOURNEMOUTH'S crisis-hit free school has been thrown into chaos as it is revealed they will not be moving to their new site next term.

Parents have been told Parkfield School's move to new premises at Bournemouth Airport this September has been delayed once again until 2017.

A special investigation by the Daily Echo and BBC can also reveal

  • Attempts to hide the extent of the asbestos on the site from parents
  • The school has been claiming money for a higher number of pupils than have enrolled
  • The head teacher has been signed off sick
  • A crisis meeting is set to take place tonight
  • The Department for Education have refused to reveal the cost of the entire project, thought to be around £35million.
  • Parents have described the school as "shambolic"

School leaders had privately planned to move into temporary buildings at the Hurn site in September while the work was completed.

But in their letter to parents on Friday, the school and Education Funding Agency, who are responsible for the site, are blaming Christchurch council for delays over planning permission for the temporary classrooms.

Bournemouth Echo:

Last year it was claimed the discovery of bats in the buildings was responsible for the delay.

And as recently as April, headteacher Terry Conaghan said the planned move was still on track.

Pupils will remain at Dorset House until the work is completed, the letter from Matt Clarkson, chair of governors said.

Mr Clarkson also confirmed Mr Conaghan, who is due to retire next year, had been signed off sick for the past two weeks. He is expected to return next week.

A spokesperson for the DfE said: “Following discussions with the trust and contractors we have agreed that students will not move to the permanent site at Hurn this September.

"This will allow construction work to be completed as quickly as possible and ensure students at Parkfield School will be taught in a facility fit for the 21st century.

"We will be working closely with the school to put measures in place to improve the working and learning environment for pupils and teachers including the external space at Dorset House.”

School will have to pay back £500,000

AS well as the delayed move, the school has also been claiming money for a higher number of pupils than have actually been enrolled.

This means they having to pay back around half a million pounds to the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

A finance committee meeting to discuss revisions to the 2015/16 budget back in October last year revealed the school’s income was based on student numbers of 584, despite only having 463 students enrolled.

The repayment could start next year, the minutes of the meeting said, with a two-year payment plan proposed.

The DfE said the EFA would work with the trust to recover funds where pupil numbers were lower than expected.

Parkfield School: a timeline of events

February 2011: Plans announced for a free school in Bournemouth

August 2011: Finance House in Holdenhurst Road was identified as a potential site

October 2011: Department for Education approved the school to open in September 2012

February 2012: Terry Conaghan appointed as principal

February 2012: School announced it was buying Homelife House in Bournemouth

June 2012: Sale fell through

July 2012: Opening postponed for a year just weeks before pupils were due to start there

April 2013: Announced plans to move into Dorset House

September 2013: Dorset House not ready for the start of term and lessons were held at Butcher’s Coppice Scout Camp

September 2013: Parents told a permanent, purpose-built school would replace Dorset House within two years in Bournemouth town centre

January 2014: Plans were announced to move to a former air traffic control centre at Hurn after they failed to locate a site in Bournemouth town centre

May 2015: Ofsted rated the school as Requires Improvement

June 2015: Parents discovered they could be hit with a £650 transport bill to get their children to and from Hurn

July 2015: Move delayed for a year because of bats

February 2016: School shelves plan for sixth form

April 2016: Head says school will definitely relocate in September and announces retirement in August 2017

May 2016: Parkfield plans to recruit overseas students in bid to boost numbers