Collenswood site won't be sold to developers

PUBLISHED: 14:25 17 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010

A SCHOOL which looks set to close in the summer will not be sold to developers in the near future, according to a local authority. Homeowners living close to the Collenswood School site had feared it would be knocked down and developed into homes. A Her

A SCHOOL which looks set to close in the summer will not be sold to developers in the near future, according to a local authority.

Homeowners living close to the Collenswood School site had feared it would be knocked down and developed into homes.

A Hertfordshire County Council spokesman said: "If our proposals to close the school went ahead, we would continue to use the site as a school for several years to come.

"If after that period it was no longer required, it would be considered for other council uses and, if there were none, it would be sold and future use would be determined by Stevenage Borough Council's town planning process."

The school has experienced difficulties since 2002 when Ofsted judged it to have serious weaknesses. A further inspection in 2003 judged the school to have made little progress and it was placed on special measures.

The Comet spoke to Peter Warren, an art teacher at the school who retired after 40 years service.

Although he doesn't want to see the closure of the school he said: "Something positive needs to be done to help the children. I can only see the situation getting worse if left as it is."

He said everything was going well in 2000 when staff even received a £200 bonus.

But "it only took something slight to change the balance".

A head of department left and then other experienced teachers began to retire or change jobs.

They were replaced with teachers with little experience and in Mr Warren's case not replaced at all.

Mr Warren said: "Teachers will do a time with a school and then move on. That is natural for teaching but it came at a bad time. It wasn't an attractive place to come to. The people who did were not experienced enough. When coming to a school like Collenswood you need a good two or three years under your belt. You need to be able to distribute tender loving care to these kids."

He said this led to discipline problems at the school and exam results began to get worse.

He said despite all this there was some excellent teaching taking place but inspectors often picked up on the inexperience of some of the teachers.

He said: "In terms of education I don't think Collenswood students are getting a fair deal."

He said the students would benefit from a wider curriculum which would come from merging the school with another.

He said: "The management worked damn hard. Jenny Francis (the headteacher) worked her socks off to put things right. It was a difficult situation.

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