Axe looming for troubled Burnley secondary school

The future of Hameldon will be decided next week
The future of Hameldon will be decided next week
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Anxious children, parents and staff at a troubled Burnley secondary school will find out next week if it is to close.

Lancashire County Council's cabinet will consider a proposal to close Hameldon Community College at its meeting on Thursday April 12th.

Hameldon Community College

Hameldon Community College

If the proposal is agreed, the school will close on August 31st 2019. Implementation of the closure would start on August 31st 2018.

The proposal marks the end of a long period of statutory consultation and discussion with the local community.

Hameldon opened in September, 2006, as part of Burnley's multi-million pound Building Schools for the Future programme, but was beset with difficulties from the outset.

Poor OFSTED reports, resulting in the school at one point being placed in Special Measures, contributed to a drop in pupil numbers over recent years. The opening of the privately-run Burnley High School also placed extra pressure on Hameldon's long-term future.

County Coun. Susie Charles, Lancashire County Council's Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: "I'm fully aware of the different views about this proposal. All cabinet councillors will consider the proposal, taking careful account of both sides.

"We have a duty to provide a high-quality education for all of our young people and this will be a major factor in the discussion that we will have about the future of the school.

"The school has recently received an Inadequate rating from Ofsted, is in financial deficit, and has very low numbers of pupils attending. These three factors are the main reasons why cabinet needs to consider the future of the school.

"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 in order to complete their GCSE exams.

Specific arrangements would be made for current Year 10 pupils to complete their Key Stage 4 education and their GCSE exams at the school. The pupils that this affects would leave the school in July 2019.

If the proposal is agreed, pupils currently in Years 7, 8 and 9 would move to different schools for the start of the new term in September 2018.

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