Under threat school handed lifeline
The shock proposed closure of troubled Burnley school Hameldon Community College has taken a new twist with news that the decision has been '˜called in' by councillors.
The Burnley Express can reveal that the decision, made by Lancashire County Council just last Thursday, is to be looked at again after seven county councillors requested a recall at County Hall.
Parents of pupils at the school, which only opened 11 years ago as part of the much-vaunted Building Schools for the Future programme, have campaigned to keep the school open.
A spokesman for the county council said: “We can confirm that a request to call-in the Cabinet’s decision to approve the proposed closure of Hameldon Community College, Burnley, has been made by seven county councillors representing more than one single political group.
“A special meeting of the Education Scrutiny Committee will now be convened. This committee is required to meet within seven clear working days of the request, and the meeting has been arranged to take place on Wednesday April 25th at 10-30am at County Hall.
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“At the meeting, the Education Scrutiny Committee will hear from those supporting the call-in as well as the Cabinet member for Children, Young People and Schools, and then decide whether to let the decision stand, or whether to ask Cabinet to reconsider it.
“The original decision can’t be implemented until the committee has decided what to do.
“If the committee asks Cabinet to look at the decision again, Cabinet will consider the committee’s views and then decide to uphold the original decision or change it.
“The meeting will be webcast and open to the public to attend. Members of the public will not be able to speak at this meeting though.”
Parent Sarah Ingham, who is one of the founder members of Save Hameldon, a page set up on Facebook by parents and supporters of the college, said: “Things were not done properly from the start.
“It’s like building foundations, if it’s not done correctly, do you start over and get it right or carry on regardless ignoring everyone and everything? We believe this is what has happened.
“Following Thursday’s decision we asked Burnley county councillors Sobia Malik and Jeff Sumner to help, and the decision will now be reviewed.
“My son Connor is in Year 9 at the school and absolutely loves it. He was a very quiet child but going to Hameldon has brought him out of his shell.
“He’s become more independent and is quite happy to give his opinion. He is doing really well with his science and would be devastated if Hameldon closed. Like all of us, though, he’ll be doing cartwheels if it remains open.”
See Friday's Burnley Express for a full special report.