Secondary school is facing closure

January 30 2014

THE Grange School and Sports College in Warmley looks set to close in 2016 .

THE Grange School and Sports College in Warmley looks set to close in 2016 .

Many parents have already removed their children from the school since it was placed in special measures by Ofsted last year and have transferred them to Mangotsfield School, The Sir Bernard Lovell School or King’s Oak Academy.

Councillors heard it was likely that the school would be less than half full, with about 400 pupils, by September this year.

South Gloucestershire’s Children and Young People Committee was told that The Grange buildings needed £10.4 million spent to bring them up to standard and the Department for Education would not fund the work.

This meant it was not possible to create a future for the school as a sponsored academy.

Officers said it was important to get rid of empty places in South Gloucestershire secondary schools to help improve educational standards, so they were recommending closure of The Grange.

The proposal was agreed, although Conservative and Labour councillors abstained from the vote.

Parents and local people will be consulted soon on proposals to shut the school to new admissions from September 2015 and completely from 2016.

About 20 parents attended the meeting, which also agreed to develop and support the submission of a bid to the Department for Education to open a smaller specialist Studio School, with an emphasis on employability and enterprise skills, on the site.

The council will also look at expanding the neighbouring Warmley Park Special School and moving its Education Other Than At School provision to the site.

The closure proposals, if approved, would mean that children already on GCSE courses would be able to complete their studies at the Grange. Current Year 7 and 8 pupils would be offered places at the studio school, if that gets the go-ahead, or in neighbouring schools. The meeting was told that fewer than 10 families had applied for places for their children for September 2014, so it would not be possible to run a viable Year 7 next year.

The committee heard a report from a independent panel of experts on the need for urgent action to raise the quality of teaching and learning in the area’s schools.

This was commissioned last year in response to evidence of a widening gap between South Gloucestershire secondary schools’ attainment levels and national averages for attainment.

Committee chairman Councillor Ian Blair said: “The Education Commission’s independent report has highlighted the significant challenges we face and difficult decisions we must take if we are to deliver the high quality secondary education that our young people deserve.