Parent writes to Michael Gove over hold-ups at Sunderland’s first free school

Grindon Hall Christian School looking very much a hard-hat area as building work continues.
Grindon Hall Christian School looking very much a hard-hat area as building work continues.
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A FURIOUS parent has vowed to write to the Government over concerns about the running of Sunderland’s first free school.

The Echo revealed this week that Grindon Hall Christian School in Pennywell will open late to pupils this term after a £3million extension was not finished in time.

Principal Chris Gray has apologised to parents and 550 pupils after he and other senior staff decided to put back the start date of the school year to Monday, September 23.

But the dad of a child about to enter their final year of GCSE study today blasted school chiefs and said he intends to write to Education Secretary Michael Gove in a bid to get answers.

The parent, who didn’t want to be named, said: “There appears to be no kind of governance of what is happening at the school, they don’t seem to be answerable to anybody.

“We are told that it is unacceptable for us to take kids out of school for holidays during term-time, but my child is going to miss three weeks of school.

“It would be too unsettling to move schools now and although they say facilities will be improved once the work is finished, we have to look at what education our child is getting.

“What if they get to the 23rd of September and it hasn’t got a health and safety certificate? Do the children have another few weeks off?

“I’m going to write to the Education Secretary to hopefully get answers.”

Grindon Hall was granted free school status last September meaning that it is now independent of control from Sunderland City Council.

The parent has also taken offence with a new rule banning packed lunches and water during lessons.

A school newsletter stated that lunchtime meal choice “will be limited” and that children “need to be taught to be grateful for what they are given”.

“To say that children shouldn’t be allowed water is totally at odds with every bit of educational research from the last few years,” added the parent.

“Everyone knows it is better for them to be hydrated.

“I understand children being asked to sit down together and say Grace, that’s fine, but for them not to be able to have many choices is unacceptable.”