Council boss blasts school closure proposals

Pupils and supporters with Robyn Holtham from the Parents Action Group, protesting against the proposed closure of Skerton High School.
Pupils and supporters with Robyn Holtham from the Parents Action Group, protesting against the proposed closure of Skerton High School.
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Lancaster City Council boss Mark Cullinan has blasted his county council counterparts for their proposals to close Skerton High School.

Chief executive Mr Cullinan has written to the county council’s provision planning team on behalf of the city council, in a bid to save the school from closure.

He asks instead that the school is developed “as a quality school and focus of the local community.”

It was announced in July that the school could close next August.

Coun Matthew Tomlinson, county council cabinet member for children, schools and young people, cited low numbers and poor results among the reasons for the plans.

Consultation is currently under way, with meetings due at the school on October 9.

A public meeting is also being held in school today, Thursday, from 6.30pm.

In his letter to the consultation, which followed a council business committee meeting during which local councillors expressed their concern about the school’s future, Mr Cullinan says: “Skerton Community High School provides a unique environment to develop the education and wellbeing of vulnerable children.

“We urge you to maintain the children’s wellbeing as the chief consideration when making the final decision.”

The letter said the council was concerned about the effect of the proposal on the local community, especially in light of the closure of Skerton Primary School in 2010 and Luneside Resource Centre in 2011.

“Lancaster City Council has invested considerable resource in Skerton over recent years and the council is anxious that this work is not compromised by the proposed closure,” the letter continues.

The letter also airs concern about the need for school places in an area of Lancaster which is growing in size.

“The closure of yet another public building would send out a very conflicting message about the future of Skerton as a community.

“This is particularly pertinent in light of the new houses being built on Pinfold Lane and Ashbourne Road in Skerton.

“Together with a shortage of houses in Lancaster, which may lead to further development in the area, the closure of Skerton Community High School would present an extremely worrying situation for families with young children living in the area, or those in need of housing.”