Cumbria

Workington academy plan moves closer as council issues schools closer notice

Plans for a new academy in west Cumbria have moved a step closer with the publication of statutory closure notices for two failing schools.

The closure notices for Workington's Stainburn School and Southfield Technology College have been published by Cumbria County Council.

It now triggers a four-week consultation period with the council due to make a final decision in July.

The schools are earmarked to close by the end of the year.

They were placed in special measures by education watchdog Ofsted in January.

Their 1,200 students would be taught at the new academy.

'Unsettling'

The council has selected Lakes Academy Trust as its preferred sponsor for the proposed academy, with the Secretary of State now deciding whether to approve it.

The trust currently runs the Lakes College at Lilyhall, near Workington.

Councillor Anne Burns, cabinet member for children's services, said: "While we appreciate the concerns expressed, we are confident that any transition period can be managed well.

"I appreciate this situation is unsettling but as always I must stress that our aim is to ensure young people in Workington receive the best possible education."

The council said it was "probable" the academy would initially operate out of both existing school buildings from January 1 2015 with a purpose-built site opening in late 2016 - a year earlier than previously thought.

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