Sponsor academy could save Charles Read school, Corby Glen, from closure

Pupils protest at Charles Read Academy at the proposed closure of the school. Photo: 050A
Pupils protest at Charles Read Academy at the proposed closure of the school. Photo: 050A
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An unnamed sponsor has shown an interest in taking over the running of Charles Read Academy in Corby Glen, raising the hopes of those who hope to see it spared from closure in 2014.

News of the sponsor came last Friday when Grantham MP Nick Boles and leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill attended a meeting of parents and others opposed to the closure at Corby Glen Methodist Church.

Georgina Kelham, who has a son in Year 7 at Charles Read, said the meeting was very positive. She said it had emerged that the academy which had shown an interest in Charles Read was well established with a big interest in Lincolnshire and in maintaining smaller schools.

She said: “Hopefully it is not too small a school as it all comes down to the money side of things. After Friday’s meeting I am feeling quite positive again.”

Another parent, Sharon Broughton-Eley, who has three children at the school, has collected close to 4,000 signatures for a petition she organised. She presented the petition to Mr Boles’ office at the weekend.

Chief executive of the West Grantham Academies Trust, Trudy Brothwell, told the Journal: “As you know, The West Grantham Academies Trust is in the middle of a consultation process to address the issue of The Charles Read Academy’s long-term future. During the process, another academy sponsor has approached us to discuss the possibility of the academy joining their network. We are in the very early stages of negotiations, and we need to work with the Department for Education and our Trustees before this can proceed.

“At this stage all options, including the academy joining another sponsor, are being seriously considered. It would be wrong, however, for us to set an expectation of what the outcome of the consultation and other discussions will be. All current negotiations are confidential and will form part of the submission to the Minister at the end of the consultation period (March 28, 2013). We are therefore unable to comment further until the consultation has finished.”

Councillor Hill said: “This is a welcome development which needs to be considered as part of the consultation process. It has been clear that parents and pupils at the school don’t want to see it close, especially as it would mean travelling vast distances to another school. As I have said, Grantham has growth point status and we will need to find more school places in a few years’ time, so this approach from an academy sponsor who might be able to provide the necessary support needs to be explored.”

Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell, Executive Councillor for Children’s Services, said: “The West Grantham Academies Trust is working hard for a positive resolution to Charles Read’s long-term future and we are pleased to see another option on the table that will be included as part of the consultation process. It’s important for parents to be patient and there is no need to transfer children at this time.”