28/08/2012 15:56 BST

DfE Pulls Bradford's One In A Million Free School Funding One Week Before Opening

Students in Bradford have been left without a school one week before the start of term, after the government pulled funding at the last minute.

The 'One in a Million' free school in Bradford, Yorkshire, was due to open on 3 September, but the Department for Education (DfE) told the school's founders the finance was being withdrawn over the weekend.

Both the DfE and the school's backers have refused to accept responsibility for the fiasco.

Matthew Band, chief executive of the One In A Million charity behind the secondary school, said pupil enrolment was "at 100% capacity" when the free school was given the go-ahead by the DfE.

"Yet within 10 months, due to the DfE’s processes and inability to sign off Funding Agreement and secure our facilities, they have put the project at risk," he added. "Obviously we are amazed at this decision particularly at such a late stage."

Members of the public took to Twitter to point the finger of blame towards the DfE:

The DfE has said the school had not met the agreed conditions, which led to the funding being withdrawn.

A statement from the department read:

"Setting up a Free School is a difficult task and we thank One in a Million for all their hard work.

Before any new schools open their doors, we have to be sure that all the conditions we set have been met. Making certain that new schools raise standards is one of the reasons why our Free Schools have been so popular with families across England. We still hope that One in a Million will open in 2013."

Bradford City footballer Wayne Jacobs, co-founder of One In A Million, said he was shocked at the announcement.

"We are completely baffled and stunned at this decision by the DfE and absolutely devastated for the parents, children and staff of the One in a Million Free School."

On Tuesday the charity tweeted:

But the admission was rubbished by one angry sceptic who replied:

Bradford Council is now trying to place up to 30 children who are thought to have been enrolled in the school. A spokeswoman for the council said:

"Bradford Local Authority will work in partnership with the DfE and One in a Million to make sure every child known to the local authority has a place allocated to them."

One distressed mother told local paper the Telegraph and Argus her son was due to start the school and slammed the DfE's decision.

"The enthusiasm and positive approach of the head and staff is above and beyond what we could expect from a larger school.

"This news of the government deciding not to go ahead with funding this great school has come as an enormous devastating blow."

Band said the DfE had cited low student numbers for the reason behind its decision and added the school had "watched some parents walk away" due to the uncertainty surrounding the DfE's funding.

He continued: "As a small school we still have nearly two thirds of our places filled with 30 students committed to start on the 3 September 2012.”

"It just doesn’t make sense. We know of one free school which opened with 34 students."

Band added education secretary Michael Gove had asked the school to consider a deferred opening in September 2013, which they would "seriously think through".

Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley in Yorkshire responded to comments on Twitter, saying:

The charity promised to work closely with Bradford's Local Authority Admissions team to ensure the children are placed in an appropriate LA school.

A spokesperson for One in a Million said the charity could not yet release any information as to how much money the government had already invested into the school.