Please help us save our lovely school

Helen Fletcher's picture
My elder daughter attends our local secondary school, The Wakeman in Shrewsbury. She is thriving there. The school is the only state secondary in the centre of our town and has served Shrewsbury well as a school for generations. It has a genuine caring and inclusive ethos and all children there are valued and supported in reaching their potential. It is an arts specialist school and the arts suffuse the curriculum, encouraging creativity and confidence in the pupils. It has a great Head and motivated, enthusiastic staff committed to the students. It is something of a haven for children with health problems, SEN, have suffered bullying at or been excluded from other schools, although it has many pupils who do not fall into these catagories. It has a fantastic building and facilities and has had over £4 million invested in it in recent years.
As part of its 'cuts' the Local Authority is proposing to close the Wakeman. The school has been dogged by rumours about its future over the last 5 years, but particularly the last 2, both around town and in other schools locally. The LA hasn't challenged the rumours which have really impacted on intake figures which, in turn, has given the LA justification to put forward the proposal. It seems a dangerous precedent if schools in our area are allowed to be picked off in this way. Do you know of schools in other areas which are facing similar problems? Is there any advice or support you can give us in fighting this? We only have this half term to oppose the closure so time is very short.

If you need any additional information, please ask. The campaign to stop its closure can accessed here. Thank you for your help.
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Allan Beavis's picture
Tue, 22/03/2011 - 19:41

Helen -

It IS a very dangerous precedent. If the school is to close as a result of local authority cuts, where will the pupils go? Do the other local schools have room for the pupils being displaced? And do you know if any schools are being built or opening in your area? Academies, free schools?

Shelley's picture
Tue, 22/03/2011 - 23:00

Helen - have you and your fellow schools in the area that are facing these changes considered exploring some form of federation or an Academy Chain to enable you to take greater control?

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 23/03/2011 - 07:52

An academy chain would not give local people more control. The Governing Bodies of academies are under no legal obligation to have local people as members. Local authority schools, on the other hand, have a legal duty to include local people. Including these local people in any campaign to save a school would be helpful.

Helen Fletcher's picture
Thu, 24/03/2011 - 13:01

Allan Beavis- Shrewsbury currently has an excess of school places due to a temporary dip in the birthrate but this is already reversing. There are currently places for the children displaced, but this is not predicted to continue and if the Wakeman closes my understanding is that we will need another secondary school in our town in a few years' time. Two other 'successful' schools locally, at least one of which is applying for Academy status, are very full and the LA allows popular schools to take as many pupils as they can cram in, even if this means adding prefabs to house them. Several local schools have buildings nearing the end of their life and with a poor carbon footprint. Needless to say, losing our school isn't a 'green' option for the LA either.

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