Last week parents, carers and students were shocked to find out that Trustees of the LEAP Academy Trust who are responsible for Baverstock Academy, in Druids Heath, are seeking permission from the Secretary of State to close the school.
They have said that they plan to consult on a closure plan over a 6 week period commencing in late August or early September with the intention of closing the school in September 2017. This would mean the school would still be open in September 2016 and able to take new Year 7 pupils although it’s hard to see why anyone would want to risk sending their child to the school for one year only.
Steve McCabe has arranged to meet with Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP to discuss the serious situation and to make representations about the way parents and pupils have been treated. He will also be meeting with parents and members of the local community to discuss possible rescue plans.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“This fiasco is a damming indictment of the government’s policy for schools. We really need to know what has gone on at Baverstock and why this closure plan seems to have emerged out of the blue. We were all aware that the school was in difficulty and that had resulted in an Interim Board being established to try and stabilise matters but I’m amazed that the original trustees were left in place and can now activate a closure plan. I think we all need to know about the money and what else has gone on. By the time all the various closure costs are added up it might be more expensive to close Baverstock than to rescue it and surely the government has a responsibilty. After all Baverstock would never have become a Single Academy Trust without prompting from ministers.
“It is even more worrying that in the midst of this the Regional Schools Commissioner Pank Patel is leaving and the Schools Minister didn’t seem to know, despite him being appointed by the Department for Education. Baverstock and the people of Druids Heath deserve much better than this. This is a school with a great history where once government ministers were only too happy to flock for a photo opportunity. It’s an utter disgrace that people should be treated this way.”