A new free school that was given the go ahead last week will not be based at its preferred site.

The Department for Education (DfE) approved the bid for Turing House School submitted by a group of parents and charity the Russell Education Trust on May 22.

The group named Building 2 at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in Teddington, as their preferred site because it was publicly owned, good value for money and fitted in with the school’s ethos.

This week NPL confirmed that the building was not available because it was earmarked to build a new laboratory as part of a £25m investment, announced by David Willetts minister for universities and science in January.

An NPL spokesman said the laboratory was pleased the Turing House steering group’s bid was approved and wished them well in their search for an alternative site.

Speaking on behalf of the Turing House steering group, Twickenham parent Beverley Sanders said NPL advised them the site was under review before they named it as a preference last year.

She said the group remained hopeful after Mr Willetts’ announcement because it included a reference to finding partners to use NPL’s spare capacity.

She said: “Free school proposers are instructed not to enter any talks over sites, so we have deliberately had no further contact with NPL or the ministry since that time.

“We submitted what we knew of the site’s status as part of our proposal to the DfE, along with some ideas for alternatives.

“Our website has been kept up to date with information, and we have always been very candid and cautious with our supporters about our chances of securing NPL.”

Now the school has been approved it is the role of the Educational Funding Agency to secure a site.

The co-educational school will be for children aged between 11 and 18 with a focus on science, engineering and music and is due to open in September 2014.

For more information, visit turinghouseschool.org.uk.