Lancashire school to shut this summer

Coun Matthew Tomlinson
Coun Matthew Tomlinson
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Education bosses have defended a decision to close a struggling high school.

Lancashire County Council has given the final nod to proposals to shut Skerton High School in Lancaster in August.

Cabinet member for children, young people and schools, County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, signed off the plans this week. Students will be given other school places in the area.

The decision marks the end of a period of consultation with the local community, many of whom wanted the school to stay open.

Coun Tomlinson said: “This is a difficult and sad decision to have to make. I certainly didn’t come into this role to close schools and would not be doing so now if the arguments for closure were not so overwhelming.

“We cannot justify keeping open a school where students’ results are the worst in the country, and the school is in the bottom 10 per cent for helping students to improve. Many students are struggling when they start and are still struggling when they leave.

“I know that people have campaigned hard in the past year for Skerton to stay open, but the truth is that the school’s difficulties go back many years and things haven’t improved despite the best efforts of governors, the county council and other local schools.

“Ofsted inspectors have been very concerned about the school for many years and numbers of pupils have dwindled over at least a ten-year period. If we did not close Skerton, the Department for Education would almost certainly compel us to do so.”

Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris criticised the decision. He said: “In this case, in the region of 10 people wanted to close the school and 3,000 plus who wanted to keep it open. If they’d left Skerton alone the kids would have increase in numbers and the academic standard would have increased.”