Lancashire

Council to seek opinions over possible Burnley school closure

Hameldon Community College Image copyright Google
Image caption Hameldon Community College in Burnley has seen declining standards and student numbers

A school in Lancashire faces closure in August 2018 after falling standards and student numbers.

Councillors have agreed to consult on the future of Burnley's Hameldon Community College, which has seen pupil numbers fall every year.

There were 275 pupils as of May 2017 in a school built for 750.

The £22m school was built under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI), for which the cabinet reported there was a £4.1m annual contract.

Councillor Susie Charles, the member for schools, told a meeting of Lancashire County Council's cabinet that the school had "an unhappy history".

"Despite considerable support over many years, the school hasn't been able to overcome its significant challenges, which include long-term problems attracting pupils, and associated issues around educational standards and finances."

An Ofsted inspection in 2015 rated it as requiring improvement and highlighted issues with teaching quality and pupils' achievement.

The cabinet report said only 35 parents had made it their first choice for their children for the present school year, down from a high of 91 in 2013.

Ms Charles said if the school closed, year 11 pupils would be able to take their GCSEs at the end of the school year, before adding that councillors would explore all options to try keep the building as an educational facility.

Built as part of the government's Building Schools for the Future project, it was opened in a "multimillion-pound state of the art" new building on Coal Clough Lane in 2010 following a merger of Habergham High School and Ivy Bank.

The consultation will begin on 11 September and run until 20 October.

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