The leader of Lincolnshire County Council says he is confident businessman David Ross will come forward to help save Charles Read Academy in Corby Glen from closure.
Coun Martin Hill told the Journal it was his understanding that negotiations with the David Ross Foundation were taking place and only a final agreement has to be made.
Consultation on the proposed closure of the school ended in March and a decision is due from the Department of Education. West Grantham Academies Trust Chief Executive officer Trudy Brothwell announced in January the trust was looking to close the school by September 2014.
Coun Hill said: “They have been in negotiations with David Ross and I am confident he will come forward. Mrs Brothwell says she is looking to close the school, but it is up to the Department of Education to make the final decision.”
Coun Hill added: “I am very concerned because parents are being put through the mill and have been kept waiting and she is putting her interests ahead of the children and the parents at Charles Read. She wants these chilren to go to St Hugh’s. Parents are getting more and more agitated and they are worried about the future of their children and are getting very nervous.
“There is a suspicion that the plan was to close the school all along and transport the children to St Hugh’s. I think it is pretty poor practice.”
Coun Hill said if Mr Ross did take over the Corby Glen academy he would look forward to working with him.
A number of schools in Lincolnshire are funded by the David Ross Education Trust including Skegness Grammar and the King Edward VI Academy in Spilsby.
Mr Ross, 47, founded the Carphone Warehouse with Charles Dunstone in 1989. Last year the Sunday Times Rich List said the Grimsby-born businessman was worth £540 million.
Debbie Barnes, county council Director of Children’s Services, said: “Together with the parents whose children go to the school, we welcome this news. This opportunity could provide a more secure future for the Charles Read Academy. The decision on a sponsor for the school rests with the DfE and we look forward to hearing the outcome of negotiations between the DfE and the sponsor. We would welcome the opportunity to work with a new sponsor and the school.”
In a letter to parents, dated April 26, Mrs Brothwell thanked parents for contributing to consultation.
She said: “At the open meetings, I undertook to make the Business Case available to you prior to submission. I have been advised that it would not be appropriate, given the sensitive nature of the case, to publish the full Business Case at this moment. Instead, I enclose the Executive Summary. This makes it clear that the only option available to The West Grantham Academies Trust is to close the Academy. However, The Secretary of State may wish to consider the alternative options. I can confirm that there has been a conditional expression of interest from a potential sponsor. It will now be for Ministers, advised by Department for Education officials, to make a final decision.”
In the Executive Summary conclusion, it said: “Having considered the information provided it is the view of the West Grantham Academies Trust that the Charles Read Academy is no longer financially or educationally viable. However, the Secretary of State for Education may wish to consider the range of alternative options.
“The Trust acknowledges that a proposal to close an existing Academy is a highly emotive subject, and it is not something it has entered in to lightly. The Trust has considered all options currently available to it and has carefully reflected upon all responses presented to it as a result of the consultation.”