Redundancies at Burnley secondary school

Hameldon Community College.
Hameldon Community College.

“No plans to close” is the defiant message from the under-fire headteacher of a Burnley secondary school.

Miss Gill Broom, head of Hameldon Community College, was responding to an anonymous letter, allegedly written by disgruntled staff members, who claimed the school of just 360 pupils was in danger of closing.

Gill Broom.

Gill Broom.

The letter revealed the school has asked for a number of voluntary redundancies from staff, and also called for her resignation to give the school “one last fighting chance before it goes under”.

Speaking directly to the Express Miss Broom confirmed a small number of redundancies were being invited, but said the school intake has increased in recent years.

She said: “The local authority, Lancashire County Council, have a statement of intent, and there is no indication from them that the school will close.

“It is true our pupil numbers are below roll but that is the same in every Burnley secondary school. As such we have to cut our cloth to meet our needs. However, we have recently had a year on year increase in Year 7 intake. This year we have 47 Year 11 students leaving and 88 to 90 starting in September. The school is now in a much more settled and stable position. We are a small school where everybody knows everybody, and it is like a family.”

Miss Broom refused to comment on calls made in the letter for her to resign, due to its anonymous nature.

Created as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme as a merger between the former Ivy Bank and Habergham High Schools, Hameldon has had a chequered history since it opened in 2006. It was placed in Special Measures by Ofsted inspectors in 2007. In September 2010, Hameldon moved from its original site to a new building in Coal Clough Lane, but continued to suffer an exodus of pupils. A further Ofsted inspection at the end of last year labelled the school as “inadequate”.

Responding to the letter, a spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “Unfortunately, owing to falling numbers on the school roll and other financial issues, we have asked staff to consider whether they would be interested in taking voluntary redundancy.

“With regard to the other comments in the anonymous letter, staff at the school are aware that well-established formal procedures are in place for them to make a complaint or raise a grievance.”