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A York college is set to close


6:31pm 20th February 2012
(Updated 6:40pm 20th February 2012)

City of York Council is proposing to hold a public consultation about the future of Burnholme Community College next month (1st March 2012).

Following discussions with governors at the college, and with the York Education Partnership, the council is proposing a phased closure of the college.

The proposal follows falling student numbers at the college in recent years: only 40 students have applied for a place for September 2012, which would result in a total of 270 students across all year groups. 

As a result, the college now faces a significant funding gap which if not resolved would mean that it could not provide the range and quality of learning they would wish for. At least £580,000 per year will need to be found from within the city’s overall school budget if it is to continue operating.

Councillor Janet Looker, Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Young People’s Services, said:

“It is very sad that we have to consider a phased closure of Burnholme Community College. The college is highly regarded by the parents who have chosen it for their children and by Ofsted who judged it to be “good” at the last inspection. However, the economic reality is that with falling student numbers the Burnholme Community College is no longer financially viable.

“Our priority now is to consult on a phased closure plan that seeks to protect the quality of education available to students already at Burnholme and to families living in this part of the city. York is in the fortunate position of having an excellent local educational offer. Headteachers of all other secondary schools across the city (including the two academies) have all pledged to work with Burnholme Community College in order to support the students and the staff.

“We will be writing to the families of the 40 students that were hoping to start at Burnholme in September in order to discuss alternative options that will be made available for them at neighbouring schools.” 

If a phased closure is agreed, the local authority will work with the college to ensure that the 172 students in the current Years 9,10 and 11 can successfully complete their education at Burnholme before it potentially closes in 2014. 

The phased closure would also see 114 students in the current Year 8 and Year 7 move to new schools in 2013 and 2014 in order to start their GCSE courses at neighbouring schools.

Kim Daniels, Chair of Governors at Burnholme Community College, said:

“The governors at Burnholme are very proud of the outstanding achievements of our staff and students and recognise the impact that any closure would have upon all those who know and value our school. We also recognise our duty to ensure that resources are used for the benefit of all. We would be deeply saddened by the closure of our school but are committed to working towards a solution that safeguards the best interests of all concerned.”

The council last reviewed the position at the college in 2009. After much local debate, the local authority and other schools agreed to support a business plan proposed at that time by the governing body. The business plan sought to increase the number of pupils applying for school places at the college. Regrettably, and despite their very best efforts, the college has been unable in changing demographic times to secure the necessary pupils.

Details of the proposed consultation, which is being supported by Burnholme’s governing body, will be available shortly.

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