THE former leaders of the now closed Robert Owen Academy say they still don't know the real reason why the centre was shut down.

The secondary school in Hereford which specialised in vocational courses was orderd by the government to shut down last year - just five years after it was opened.

The Regional Schools Commissioner told the school formerly based on Blackfriars Street that it needed to shut for good despite their last Ofsted report stating the school was improving.

Speaking during the presentation of a self published report into the school's failures, many of the school's former leaders said they still did not know the real reason they were closed down.

Former academy chairman Chris Morgan felt the school had been doomed almost from the very start.

“I think the decision to close the school was made in the first year," he said.

“We detected echoes that a paper had been written in the Department for Education to close the school.

“If that was really the case they should have never approved the damn thing if they wanted to close it.

“We would have had five years more of our lives with less stress.

“The other interesting thing is that we don’t know why we closed.

“The grounds for closing us shifted regularly between the budget, the Ofsted, and the numbers.

Former headteacher Paul Cordey said the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the school contributed to its downfall.

He said they had been forced to turn away some 30 students in the year they closed.

“We would have made the numbers needed to stay open but we weren’t allowed to take them.

“That would have solved the problem. The burning question is why didn’t they allow those students to come?

“You can imagine how difficult it is to recruit when you have this cloud hanging over you.

He said they had sent a school inspector into every class who told them they were improving.

“They told us we were making the right steps and had done everything that Ofsted had asked of us but we didn’t have the results.

“I think the decision had been made. There was something macabre for the decision about our closure to be announced the same day of Ofsted announcing their second day visit with the inspector.”