Hasty' school decision slated

PUBLISHED: 10:39 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010

A UNION has accused Hertford-shire County Council of being undemocratic and presumptuous following proposals to close a school. Hertfordshire National Union of Teachers has said plans to close Collenswood School in Stevenage have been hasty allowing no

A UNION has accused Hertford-shire County Council of being "undemocratic and presumptuous" following proposals to close a school.

Hertfordshire National Union of Teachers has said plans to close Collenswood School in Stevenage have been hasty allowing no time for proper consultation.

Local NUT secretary Dave Williams said: "With the council already putting in place plans for Barnwell School to take over the Collenswood site even before any meaningful discussion has taken place is both presumptuous and undemocratic.

"The politicians and officers of the authority are writing Collenswood's obituary at a time when its future has not even been confirmed. It is disappointing and unacceptable that the council should already be talking about where pupils and teachers will go before proper consultation has taken place."

He said pupils, teachers and parents want to know how a school which won achievement awards five years ago has been allowed to slide so dramatically and that many people will wonder if the council believe the site is prime building land.

He warned: "Unless local politicians, officers and Hertfordshire's school advisers come up with better answers and reasons than they've given so far and enter into meaningful discussions on this issue and its place in the overall planning of secondary provision in Stevenage, they could be in for a difficult time."

A Hertfordshire County Council spokesman said Collenswood School was given "intensive educational and financial support for the last three years" but standards continued to decline.

Following an unsatisfactory Ofsted inspection in November, the County Council was required to act under the terms of the Learning Partnership agreement.

She said: "It is vitally important for Collenswood's pupils that we do all we can to give them the best possible educational opportunities, and we feel that this would be best achieved by closing the school and using the buildings to run an expanded Barnwell School on the former Collenswood school site.

"It would have been extremely short-sighted for us to have suggested the closure of a school without making any plans for the future education of its pupils."

She said the timescale of the consultation complied with government guidelines.

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