Confirmed: troubled Burnley secondary school will close

Hameldon Community College
Hameldon Community College
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It has been confirmed today that a troubled Burnley school is to close.

Hameldon Community College's future was decided today at a full meeting of Lancashire County Council.

County Coun. Susie Charles, Lancashire County Council's Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said they based the decision on three issues - educational standards, the school's financial deficit and the falling pupil numbers.

The school will now close for good on August 31st.

County Coun. Charles said: "I'm fully aware of the different views about this proposal. But it has been considered at length by members of the cabinet, taking careful account of both sides.

"Closing a school isn't something that is done lightly and it certainly would not be happening now if the arguments for closure weren't as strong as they are.

"We have a duty to provide a high-quality education for all of our young people and we cannot justify keeping open a school with consistently poor results, in spite of the range of additional support that the county council has provided.

"The low number of pupils at the school makes it difficult for it to provide a broad and balanced education. There are now fewer than 200 pupils in a school built for 750. These numbers impact on the school's financial situation which means that the school must lose teachers and other staff to be able to balance the books. This then has an additional knock-on effect on standards at the school.

"I'm fully aware that some people want Hameldon to stay open, but the truth is that the school's difficulties go back many years and the situation hasn't improved despite the best efforts of everyone involved. We really have tried. Ofsted inspectors have also been very concerned about the school for many years.

"I'm conscious of the distress and disruption any school closure causes and we will do all we can to help with this. But we cannot continue to support a school which does not meet the required standards and certainly not those that we expect for Lancashire pupils. The circumstances mean that it is very difficult for Hameldon to provide pupils with the education they deserve.

"I'd like to reassure parents of our firm intention and commitment to providing the best possible educational experience to all of our young people."

A phased closure of the school is proposed to minimise any disruption to pupils. Current Year 10 pupils will remain at the school and specific arrangements will be made for them to complete their Key Stage 4 education and GCSE exams. The Year 10 pupils that this affects will leave the school in July 2019.

The current Year 11 pupils will be unaffected by this decision and will leave the school in July 2018.

Pupils currently in Years 7, 8 and 9 will move to a different school for the start of the new term in September 2018.

The county council remains committed to the proposal of providing intensive support to the school, so that the pupils receive the best education possible and are not disadvantaged by the school closing.

The initial consultation period and discussion with the local community ran from Monday September 11th 2017 until Friday October 20th 2017.

During this period, a consultation event, attended by education officers from the county council, was also held to give parents, staff and other interested parties the chance to ask questions and express their views.

A further statutory consultation period ran from January 16th to February 26th 2018.