College News 18th January 2019
Headteachers message - The Sir Frank Whittle Studio School
Decision in principle to close The Sir Frank Whittle Studio School
It is with much regret that The Lutterworth Academies Trust (TLAT) is announcing that, by mutual consent, the Secretary of State for Education has granted a ‘decision in principle’ to close The Sir Frank Whittle Studio School at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. Following this approval in principle there will now be a four-week listening period during which individuals and organisations can put forward their view on the proposed closure.
This is a decision that has not been taken lightly and we fully appreciate the concern this announcement may have on current students and their families. The Lutterworth Academies Trust will do everything it can to support students through this unsettling period and we would like to take this opportunity to state that the continuing wellbeing and educational provision of all students at the Trust will remain the focus and priority of the Trust.
The Sir Frank Whittle Studio School (SFWSS) was opened in September 2014 and has, despite considerable effort, struggled to recruit students. Although the school’s capacity is for 300 students, aged from 14-19, it currently only educates 90 students and has never recruited more than this number in any one of its five academic years of existence. This lack of demand has led to the situation where the school is not financially viable, or educationally sustainable, going forward. The Trust has reviewed several options to keep SFWSS open, but none are likely to be achievable within the local educational landscape and, reluctantly, TLAT has therefore made the request for closure.
If the request is given formal approval, SFWSS will close at the end of the school year 2018-19 - with no further students being admitted to the school from September 2019. Following closure, all current students will be able to complete the courses and qualifications they have enrolled on within SFWSS’s sister school, Lutterworth College. During this period TLAT will work with students to support their on-going education and transition and will be available to talk to their parents/carers.
The Trust is committed to keeping the SFWSS curriculum, work experience & coaching provision in place for this current academic year and further, during the 2019-20 academic year to allow all SFWSS students to complete their courses. SFWSS students in Year 11 & Year 13 will complete their studies as normal with no impact because of this decision. Students in Year 10 & Year 12 will continue with their current provision in 2019-20 albeit they will be registered as Lutterworth College students for funding and examination purposes.
The decision to close was a very difficult one. However, TLAT have a responsibility to ensure that the Trust undertakes a sensible and sustainable course of action to enable the Trust to safeguard its continuing success in the future. Consequently, with the levels of students at the Studio School being so low, the decision to close has become necessary.
The SFWSS site will remain within the Trust and TLAT is planning to work with the local authority to develop a provision for children with social, emotional and mental health needs to meet the growing need for more special school places in Leicestershire.
Note: The listening period runs from 18 January 2019 to 15 February 2019 – feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
18th January - Start of SFWSS listening period
4th February – Parental Engagement Evening 5/9 (3.30-6.30pm)
12th February – Year 8 Options Advice Evening (3.20-7.30pm)
15th February – End of SFWSS listening period
16th – 24th February – Half Term break
25th February - Year 8 Options Forms Deadline
Aiming for Success
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