Too few places left after closures

A COUNCIL criticised for closing six schools now plans to reopen one and rebuild another on the site of a bulldozed secondary.

Leicester carried out a pound;26 million overhaul three years ago to tackle poor standards and cut surplus places.

Six schools were closed, despite objections from parents and teachers'

unions. A fresh start "superschool" for more than 2,000 pupils was created.

But pupils were forced to travel long distances and secondaries which took in pupils from closed schools saw their GCSE results drop. In 2000 the city's five A* to C GCSE average fell three percentage points to 34 per cent. There was a slight improvement last year.

Now the council says that pressure on places is too great. Many schools are over-subscribed and more than 4,000 pupils leave the city for schools in Leicestershire .

Proposals have been announced to create a city academy for three to 18-year-olds at a school which has been empty for three years. And a new school for three to 14-year-olds in the west of the city could be built on the site of a secondary knocked down after the overhaul.

The National Union of Teachers said the proposals demonstrate the folly of the original decision. Jane Rolfe, NUT Leicester secretary, said: "We are still doing casework for teachers who suffered because of the closures. If the council admitted that the reorganisation has not worked, this plan might be easier to swallow. All the arguments in opposition to school closures are the same arguments they are using now to justify two new schools."

Brian Roberts, cabinet leader for education, said the overhaul was driven by the need to cut surplus places and because schools were failing.

"There is no doubt that the earlier reorganisation has had a major impact in raising standards and improving facilities. Opportunities which now present themselves, like city academies, did not exist then."

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you