Concerns over future of town’s education

PUBLISHED: 12:20 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

Jonathon Block

Jonathon Block

CONCERN for the future of schools in Stevenage is growing. Proposals to close Collenswood School and expand Barnwell School were unanimously agreed by Hertfordshire County Council s education panel last Wednesday. But during the meeting Lindsay Martin, he

CONCERN for the future of schools in Stevenage is growing.

Proposals to close Collenswood School and expand Barnwell School were unanimously agreed by Hertfordshire County Council's education panel last Wednesday.

But during the meeting Lindsay Martin, head of school access for the council, said it was foreseen that Stevenage should have "a smaller number of larger schools" in the future.

The Comet spoke to Jonathan Block, head of Thomas Alleyne, who said within the town there are natural pairs of schools within close proximity of each other.

But he said that he didn't want to see his school knocked down and replaced with flats.

"Ours is a traditional school. It would be a great shame for 450 years of education to go out the window and be replaced with flats. This is a good school and I don't want anything to happen to it," he said.

He said all schools in Stevenage are working extremely hard to raise their standards.

All secondary schools in the town will be reviewed by the county council in March 2007.

The council has also made a bid for more than £100 million as part of building schools for the future (BSF) - a Government initiative to refurbish or rebuild every secondary school in the country.

The council is waiting to hear when it will receive the money but Stevenage schools are top of the list to be rebuilt or refurbished.

Barnwell head Richard Westergreen-Thorne hopes his school will be one of those given money to rebuild.

Barnwell will swell to 1,500 pupils when Collenswood closes and merges with the school.

Collenswood experienced considerable difficulties since 2002 and was placed in special measures by Ofsted at the end of 2003. Since then, despite the county council investing £700,000 of resources, standards at the school have continued to decline.

The recommendations to close the school will go to the county council's Cabinet on Tuesday, February 21, for formal approval.

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