Karin Smyth MP appalled by chaos unleashed by Government failure to open Oasis Academy

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, is appalled by the news that the Oasis Academy is now not expected to open until September 2024.

In a statement issued by the Department for Education, the Government state:

We are writing to you following our recent discussions to confirm that the current forecast realistic year of opening for the pre-opening Oasis Academy in South Bristol is now September 2024. The revised year of opening is due to a combination of factors which include the additional time taken to prepare a robust planning application and further detailed survey and design works since the feasibility stage have informed a more realistic programme. In addition, further investigation of the key risks, such as the demolition of the existing community centre, has also informed the revised programme.

As a result of the revised year of opening, the Department will proceed to develop a business case to explore the feasibility of opening the school in temporary accommodation for 2023. This assessment will include detailed discussions with the trust, Oasis Community Learning, the appraisal of available sites, and value considerations for the spending of public funds. Any decision on temporary accommodation will be subject to Department approval.

The Academy trust, Oasis Community Learning, already runs eight academy schools in Bristol and has faced these failings before. Back in February 2021 they announced that the Temple Quarter School was supposed to open in 2018 but will not open until 2024 at the earliest.

In a recent House of Commons debate, Karin Smyth MP raised her deep concerns that Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) were not being held to account for their actions and that the Government were failing the children and parents in Bristol South to ensure they are at the heart of education.

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:

“Parents, carers and children in Bristol South will be dismayed at this news of a delay in opening this new school, which represents another complete failure by the Department for Education and Gavin Williamson MP, the Secretary of State.

“All of the factors mentioned in the Department’s statement have been known for some time, this late announcement of a delay to a school due to open in less than thirteen months is a disgrace.

“Bristol City Council are now trying to sort out this mess and find temporary accommodation for 2023. Once again, local government is left carrying the burden of central government policy and implementation failures. I will be demanding an explanation from the schools minister for this monumental fiasco.”