The secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, has promised he will personally intervene to help decide the future of a free school.

MP for Hertsmere James Clappison yesterday told parents who had applied to Harperbury Free School Mr Gove had given these reassurances at a meeting earlier that day.

The school was due to open in September in the former Harperbury Hospital in Harpers Lane in Radlett.

However schools’ minister Lord Nash announced last week the Department for Education had failed to secure the site in time, meaning its opening would be delayed for a year.

Speaking at the meeting in Shenley Park Chapel in Shenley, Mr Clappison said: "Michael Gove said Lord Nash was a junior minister with no experience in education.

"He has agreed to take this on himself and take a look at whether the school can go ahead at the Harperbury site in September.

"Mr Gove has also promised to meet a delegation from the school"

Mr Clappison said there were no guarantees Mr Gove would ensure the school would open as planned, but the fact he was prepared to intervene showed it was "going up a level".

The headteacher of the future school Martin Blain said Mr Gove’s promise was a "ray of hope".

He added: "With Michael Gove intervening there is a chance we shall get what we want which is to have our school open in 2014.

"This meeting shows enough people care about this school and will fight to have it opened as planned."