Consultation on troubled school will go ahead and possible closure on the cards

A consultation will be held on the future of the troubled Hameldon Community College in Burnley.
A consultation will be held on the future of the troubled Hameldon Community College in Burnley.

A public consultation, on the future of one of Burnley's so-called "super schools," which has been plagued with problems since it opened 11 years ago, will go ahead it was announced today.

Lancashire County Council's Cabinet agreed today to consult on the future of Hameldon Community College including its possible closure with effect from August 31st, 2018.

County Coun. Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: "A number of circumstances have combined to make this consultation necessary.

"Despite considerable support over many years, the school hasn't been able to overcome its significant challenges, which include long-term problems attracting pupils, and associated issues around educational standards and finances.

"We have been concerned about the situation for a while, and have made considerable efforts to try to turn this situation around.

"The governors have taken the same view and now think that it is time for us to consider the long-term future of the school.

"The consultation is open to everyone and I really hope that people will take the opportunity to tell us what they think and identify some potential future options.

"Our paramount concern is always to provide the best education we can for all young people."

The consultation will begin on Monday, September 11th, and run until Friday, October 20th.

A consultation event, which will be attended by education officers from the county council, will be held during this period to give parents, staff and other interested parties the chance to ask questions and express any views they may have.

A consultation document containing a questionnaire, full details of the proposal, answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and how to book an appointment at the consultation event will be available for the beginning of the new school year at: www.lancashire.gov.uk/schoolorganisationreviews.

A report will be made back to the cabinet on the consultation on Thursday, December 7th, when a decision will be made on the next step for the school.

When the proposal for the consultation was announced last month it sparked an avalanche of debate and speculation on the school, which was built at a cost of £22m and opened in September, 2006, under the Building Schools for the Future programme when the former Ivy Bank and Habergham High schools were merged.

The school in Coal Clough Lane has enjoyed mixed fortunes, and in 2007 was placed into special measures by Ofsted.

In 2009 the school was taken out of special measures but in 2013 it was identified as having serious weaknesses by Ofsted.

Since then, students numbers have dwindled to just 331 in a school built to take 750.

Chairman of the governors, Mrs Alex Bird, said she hoped that people will "share their views with us on how we can provide the best education possible for young people in this area."