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Decision on the future of a North Yorkshire Secondary School


12:01am 15th May 2012
(Updated 4:55pm 15th May 2012)

The future of a North Yorkshire Secondary School will be decided.

Burnholme Community College in York is facing closure because children aren't signing up to go there.

Only 40 pupils have put their names down to start in September.

That means funding per pupil wouldn't cover the costs of keeping it open with just 270 potential students .

This is causing a funding problem for the school, where it's costing more to keep it open than funding can cover.

City of York Council Statement:

Cabinet to consider future of York's smallest secondary school.

City of York Council's Cabinet will consider a proposal to carry out a phased closure of Burnholme Community College (15 May).

The proposal follows a formal consultation stimulated by falling student numbers at the college in recent years - only 40 students have applied for a place for September 2012 - giving a total of only 270 potential 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 it would want to provide. At least £580,000 per year would need to be found from within the city's overall school budget if it were to continue operating.

Cabinet will be asked to consider the results of a city-wide consultation into the future of education on the East side of the city, a petition in support of the college and the educational and financial issues relating to the college, namely:

"    whether a school with an annual intake of 40-50 students can provide a broad and balanced secondary curriculum that meets the educational needs of all
"    whether the school is financially viable given the level of subsidy needed to maintain the school
"    the potential impact on other secondary schools in the event of providing the level of subsidy needed to maintain Burnholme Community College
"    if it would be beneficial to maintain Burnholme Community College in order to meet a future demand for school places, given the issues and risks described in the report
"    whether the transition arrangements proposed to support the phased closure will minimise disruption to student's education and learning
"    whether the proposed catchment area and school admission arrangements are appropriate and equitable

If members agree to the proposal to initiate a phased closure of the school, the local authority would publish a statutory notice proposing the phased closure. This would then be followed by a  six-week representation period, after which the council would consider all further observations and comments received before deciding whether to proceed with the proposals.

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.  

A 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.

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.

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