Lights, Camera, Action! Will new film school be a bomb?

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In Islington, North London, a new free school specialising in film is proposed to open between two “outstanding” comprehensives. But concerns have already been raised about the “wasteful” project spending.

The unnamed secondary is presented as a joint project between British film company Working Title (known for Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral) and an academy chain run by Tory party donor David Meller, the Meller educational trust.

In addition to these sponsors funding the project, the government plans to use part of the site to sell luxury housing. But despite this backing, council officials remain to be convinced of the school’s economic viability. Richard Watts, Islington’s Leader of the Council, pointed out that the DfE had already spent £33.5m on the purchase of the land alone – “a staggering waste” in his own words. Watts instead suggested that the site be used for affordable housing for teachers.

Others also pointed to the state of Meller’s record, as two of the six schools he sponsors are rated as “requires improvement” by Ofsted.

The DfE responded that they planned to use the site for educational purposes, but they were “currently considering options” and “no decisions have been taken.”

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