Breaking news: Plans to close Skerton High School move a step forward

Skerton Community High School. Stock Pic.
Skerton Community High School. Stock Pic.

Controversial plans by Lancashire County Council to close Skerton High School have moved a step forward.

A Statutory Notice of the proposal to close Skerton High School will be published in January.

County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson said: “I am keenly aware of the strength of feeling about this school and this is not an easy process for anyone.

“I’d like to thank everyone who took the trouble to respond to the consultation, and to give them a reassurance that I read every single submission.

“There is further work that the authority needs to do to consider options for the future education of the young people in school before I make a final decision in April.

“The care and support that Skerton provides for its pupils have never been in doubt, and I am impressed by the affection that pupils, parents, staff and the local community clearly have for the school.

“However, I must consider issues on both sides of the argument and look at whether the school has the capacity to improve, based on the evidence of recent years.”

Acting headteacher Lyndon Day said: “There have been developments that have moved so quickly over the last 48 hours that this decision by the local authority has been made without them being able to consider a potential new future for the school.

“Governors, Senior Leadership and the DFE are in very early exploratory discussions with

representatives of a private Trust that has stepped forward and is willing to help Skerton

Community High School develop a strategy to avoid closure and to secure the school for

current pupils and future generations.

“It is unfortunate that the date for the result of County Councillor Tomlinson’s decision

has meant that pupils, staff and parents have had to hear disappointing news before

this very welcome announcement.

“However, the school urges parents and pupils not to be too down-hearted and be reassured that the parties involved are all working at lightning speed to get everything in place to move forward.

“The school wishes to confirm, though that although they are heartened by this offer

proceedings are at an early stage.

“The school stated that early discussions are promising and have also been welcomed by representatives of the Department for Education.

“The Trust is a Swiss trust with links to this area and at this stage the trust have asked

to remain anonymous.

“The school wishes to respect the request for anonymity, but reassures all parents that all safeguarding and correct procedures are being followed in accordance with DFE procedures. “The children know my current catch phrase WAIT AND SEE and this is very much how it has been lately, but this is very good news.

“We wanted to let parents and pupils know before the weekend so that they could for once

go home with a little more peace of mind.”

Chair of Governors, Susan Willoughby said she was “cautiously optimistic” and thanked the pupils, parents and staff for their very loyal support of the school.”

David Morris MP said: “I am deeply disappointed that Lancashire County Council has chosen to ignore the parents, pupils and community of Skerton Community High School, and is still pushing for the closure of this school.

“In this consultation over 96% of responses argued that Skerton High School should be saved. “I am shocked that the County Council have ignored these responses and carried on with closure.

“I will now be requesting a full investigation into this consultation by the Secretary of State Michael Gove MP.

“I am still fully supporting this school and am still hopeful that the Secretary of State will force this School into academy status to protect the school for future generations.”