A final decision about whether or not to cancel the closure notice for Culverhay School will be made by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet on October 12th 2011. It is anticipated that the Secretary of State will shortly make a decision on whether the future of a school on this site will be as a Sponsored Academy or as a Free School.
The Cabinet’s decision follows the six week statutory consultation period which concluded on September 8th 2011.
Councillor Nathan Hartley (Lib-Dem, Peasedown), Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children, and Youth and Deputy Leader of Council, said, “We’d like to thank everyone who has contributed their views. The Cabinet made a clear commitment that we wished co-educational provision to happen on the site in line with the aspirations of the local community.”
Should the Cabinet decide to revoke the closure notice, officers are recommending it should provide the £700,000 investment required to reshape the school and make the necessary adaptations to the buildings for Culverhay to become a co-education Academy in a similar way in which Oldfield School was supported. This immediate financial commitment will not impact on the budget for other schools because money will be used that the Council has built-up in reserves through the long-term prudent management of its finances.
A smaller school with a reduced planned admission can, over time, be financially viable and lead to a reduction in surplus places.
Councillor Hartley added, “The Governing Body recently voted to request the Secretary of State grants Culverhay School Academy Status. The Cabinet supports the desire of the Governing Body of Culverhay to become an Academy because it is the model that national policy identifies as the best way to raise standards and pupil outcomes at schools that perform less well.
“It enables a sponsor, like Cabot Learning Federation, with a track record in transforming pupil experiences, outcomes and school performance to take a key role in addressing the needs of pupils. However, ultimately this is a decision for the Secretary of State and should he decide on a Free School we would be equally supportive.”
The Council has a set of question and answers for parents and guardians affected by the decision. These can be found at http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/culverhayquestions.