Final bell looms for Lancaster school

Skerton Community High School.
Skerton Community High School.

Lancaster’s smallest secondary school is expected to close at the end of the academic year.

Skerton Community High School will shut due to falling numbers and poor grades, if county councillor Matthew Tomlinson rubber stamps a decision as expected this Thursday.

An attempt to keep the Owen Road school open as a free school, funded by a sponsor rather than the county council, has failed.

Teachers, parents, governors and David Morris MP had campaigned long and hard for the school to stay open.

Mr Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said: “It is extremely disappointing to hear that Lancashire County Council have again ignored the voices of the community and more importantly the pupils of Skerton High School and are going ahead with closure.

“The support for the school in the community is overwhelming.”

Lancashire County Council has currently banned all other schools in Lancashire from speaking to the pupils from Skerton before the end of April and this has led to a number of parents taking their children to schools in Cumbria before the end of the academic year.

Lyndon Day, acting head teacher, said: “Obviously I am extremely disappointed that the council is not taking into consideration the hard work of the staff and pupils and the latest improvements that have been made.

“It has been officially recognised that we are making progress.”

It was first announced last August that the council would hold a consultation into plans to shut the school. During the consultation, 665 of 743 people who responded said they ‘strongly disagreed’ with the proposals.

City council chief executive Mark Cullinan also wrote on behalf of the city council, expressing concern at the proposals.

He said he was concerned about the negative effect the closure would have on the local community in Skerton.

Mr Morris – who vowed at a public meeting last October that “on my watch this school is not going to close” – added: “Skerton has improved since its Ofsted rating last year and is expected to be taken out of the serious weaknesses category at the end of the academic year.”