Closure of Charles Read: ‘Better education on offer for pupils at St Hugh’s

Trudy Brothwell believes the porposals will benefit pupils.. 920C
Trudy Brothwell believes the porposals will benefit pupils.. 920C
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A Grantham school will see an influx of pupils if a proposal to close a rural secondary school gets the green light.

The West Grantham Academies Trust has announced its intention to close the Charles Read Academy in Corby Glen and move staff and pupils to its sister school St Hugh’s, in Grantham. Pupils would transfer by September 2014, following a consultation.

Academies trust CEO Trudy Brothwell (pictured, left) said she believes the move will “increase opportunities for the Charles Read Academy students”. They will be able to enroll on courses such as drama, dance, media, engineering, Spanish and hairdressing currently offered at St Hugh’s.

Mrs Brothwell added: “The education standards are very different in the two schools. Educational standards in St Hugh’s are outstanding. Pupils’ attainment on entry is low but standards achieved when they leave are outstanding.

“A lot of work has taken place at Charles Read to raise it up to the same standards. This has not happened so obviously we want to make sure that youngsters have access to the best possible provision they can.”

As reported last week, Charles Read Academy is among the worst 200 schools in the country in the latest school league tables, with just 38 per cent achieving five A*-C grades at GCSE level. Meanwhile, St Hugh’s came in at 39 per cent.

Mrs Brothwell said there is no link between poor attainment and the proposal to close the school. She said the decision was, in part, a result of Government funding changes which allocate money per pupil. According to local authority figures, there will be fewer children starting secondary schools in the coming years, resulting in less funding for all Grantham area schools.

Lincolnshire County Council has slammed the move to close Charles Read.

Leader Councillor Martin Hill said: “It’s important to note that Grantham has ‘growth point’ status and is expected to see a considerable increase in pupil numbers from September 2014 for primary intakes, so closing the school makes little sense and reduces the ability to plan for the future.”

Executive councillor for children’s services Patricia Bradwell added: “To place Charles Read pupils at St Hugh’s would result in young people travelling vast distances to school and we do not think that parents would want this. The proposals would also significantly increase transport costs which would have to be met by the county council.”

Mrs Brothwell said there would be no job losses as a result of the school’s closure.

Additional classroom space is already available to cope with the addition of 230 Charles Read pupils, as the two primary schools under the trust have merged. Pupils of Earl of Dysart Primary School are now educated at Spitalgate, allowing school bosses to use the Earl of Dysart site for practical lessons.