A Lancashire school looks a step closer to closure following an announcement from the county council.
The authority will publish a statutory notice of proposal to close Skerton Community High School in Lancaster next month, with a final decision on its future due in April.
Lancashire County Council said it had received hundreds of responses to a consultation, with many opposing the closure and hoping to keep the secondary school open.
But the decision to publish the statutory notice was this week taken by the county council’s cabinet member for children, young people and schools, Matthew Tomlinson.
A report to county coun Tomlinson noted the high number of responses received to the consultation – 748 – as well as two joint responses and three petitions.
Most respondents opposed the proposal because of the school’s “unique and inclusive ethos”, as well as its pastoral care and support for its students, a high proportion of whom have special educational needs.
County Coun Matthew Tomlinson said: “I am keenly aware of the strength of feeling about this school and this is not an easy process for anyone.
“I’d like to thank everyone who took the trouble to respond to the consultation, and to give them a reassurance that I read every single submission.
“There is further work that the authority needs to do to consider options for the future education of the young people in school before I make a final decision in April.
“The care and support that Skerton provides for its pupils have never been in doubt, and I am impressed by the affection that pupils, parents, staff and the local community clearly have for the school.
“However, I must consider issues on both sides of the argument and look at whether the school has the capacity to improve, based on the evidence of recent years.”
The report gave a summary of the consultation responses, including the reasons cited for keeping the school open and concerns about the impact of closure on pupils.
It gave the main reasons behind the proposal to close, including a steady decline in academic results and also in levels of progress achieved by pupils while they are at the school. The report noted that the numbers on roll at the school have declined since at least 2004.