Closing a school and selling the site for housing could raise millions, the Department for Education’s property arm, LocatED, appeared to suggest in a presentation earlier this month, Warwick Mansell reports.
This would not only help solve the housing crisis but would raise money which could be used to improve other schools within the same multi academy trust (MAT).
Closing schools is controversial, as West Grantham Academy Trust found when it proposed to close a small secondary school in Lincolnshire and move all the pupils to another WGAT academy in Grantham. The school was only saved after another trust agreed to take it on.
Closing a school, especially in rural areas, could mean a local authority (LA) facing increased travelling costs if the nearest school is outside agreed distances. And the nearest school may not even be in the same academy trust. If it were not, then money raised by selling an asset in one community would be moved to another.
The government wants all schools to become academies. But three-quarters of primary schools are still LA-maintained. Schools tempted to join MATs, especially a MAT already operating locally, should be concerned not just about loss of autonomy but possible loss of the school.
Read Warwick’s article in full here.
CORRECTION 24 April 10.46: Clumsy grammar put right