A free school due to close next year was granted more than £6 million in funding without having a permanent home secured.  

International Academy of Greenwich in Lee was forced to announce its closure last month after the council refused planning permission for its redevelopment in July.  

IAG planned to build a 765-pupil school on Bowring Sports Ground but was unanimously blocked by Greenwich councillors over its proposed use of Metropolitan Open Land, which is protected from development unless there are special circumstances.   

A need for school places would have qualified but council planners said the school “failed to provide a convincing case” that it existed. 

Parents based in Greenwich and Lewisham, who are deeply concerned about their children’s future, say they were “completely misled” by the school, which they say had told them the redevelopment would go ahead.  

A spokesperson for IAG said it was “saddened if anyone feels misled” and that “while we passed on the DfE’s very strong assurances that they felt planning would be granted, and based on this we believed that this would be the case, we cannot recall ever saying that it was categorically secured”. 

Many pupils still do not have a place in other schools and will not be allocated one until early next year. 

A series of Freedom of Information requests from a resident show that the school, which opened in 2016, has been given at least £6.3 million since 2012.  

Planning related costs are not included in this figure and only rent between 2018 and 2020 is included.  

The Department for Education granted the Greenwich Academy Trust – which ran the school until last year – nearly £500,000 in grants between 2012 and 2015 before IAG opened.  

The school’s revenue costs up to September 2018 totalled £3,249,846, while refurbishing the temporary site came to £1,161,069.  

Between September 2018 and August 2020, £789,338 will have been paid for renting the temporary site.  

The DfE also paid a 10 per cent deposit – £400,000 – to secure the Bowring site it planned to use for redevelopment.  

Louise, a parent whose son managed to get a place elsewhere on his first day, said the figures were “shocking”.   

She said: “I still do not understand why anyone would make this kind of financial investment on such a risky project.  

“Free schools should not be allowed to open without a full and publicly available impact assessment and, in the case of new buildings, confirmation of planning permission.” 

The DfE and Greenwich Council said they could not comment during the run up to the general election.