This information outlines the proposal of the Prospere Learning Trust on the potential closure of Newall Green High School (NGHS) which currently offers secondary school places to 437 11-16 year olds. The document also explains the closure process and the timescales for representations and decisions.
Pupil numbers at the school have been very low for a number of years and this has impacted on the viability of the school. Local demand for places at the school is predicted to remain low for the foreseeable future. After a great deal of consideration the Prospere Learning Trust has asked the Department for Education (DfE) to consider the closure of the school.
The Secretary of State has agreed to the closure of the school, subject to a Listening Period being held to gather views of stakeholders. The Listening Period will allow stakeholders to find out more about the proposal and presents an opportunity for them to express their views on the proposal and how the closure will be managed.
Context and Background:
In just over five years the number of students on roll at NGHS has fallen significantly below the 900 capacity from 818 students on roll in October 2014 to 437 students in October 2019; making the current occupancy of the building approximately 48%. Numbers of students starting at the school in September 2020 are also expected to be low based on applications received. The number on roll is forecast to be around 360 students in total in September 2020.
The Prospere Learning Trust firmly believes that the children of Wythenshawe deserve the very best educational provision in order to improve their life chances. With such low student numbers, the School would not be able to provide a broad, balanced and high-quality curriculum, which our students deserve. The number of specialist teachers would be limited, further reducing the quality of provision to students.
The proposal, which we have agreed with the Department for Education, is that Newall Green High School will close for current students in Years 7, 8 and 9 at the end of the 2019/20 academic year (August 2020). The Trust and the Local Authority will work together to ensure that pupils in current Years 7, 8 and 9 are transferred to other school places for September 2020.
Pupils in current Year 10 will remain at Newall Green during 2020/21 to allow them to complete their exams at the end of Year 11 at the school. The school will then close fully at the end of the 2020/2021 academic year (August 2021).
The current Year 11 students will be unaffected by the proposal and they will continue their education at Newall Green High School.
The School would not admit new Year 7 students in September 2020. Manchester City Council will contact parents/carers of Year 6 students who have already expressed a preference for Newall Green High School giving them an opportunity to review their preferences.
Parents and carers will be given sufficient time to consider their options. Face to face support will be on offer for those families who need help with the decision. Parents and carers of children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) for Special Educational Needs and Disability will be supported by the School and the Local Authority through the formal review process to find an appropriate school placement.
We are particularly saddened that this is happening at a time when the staff and school leadership have made great strides in improving the teaching and learning for children. Our recent Ofsted Monitoring visits and the Regional Schools Commissioner recognise the positive contribution made towards improving the school and the outcomes for children.
Manchester City Council will work closely with the Prospere Learning Trust to ensure that all students affected by the closure proposal will be offered a secondary school place at another school.
Meetings have been arranged for parents to attend from the week commencing 20 January. Further details are below.
Impact on Staff:
A separate process will take place regarding the impact of any agreed closure on the staff of Newall Green High School. The Prospere Learning Trust and representatives of Professional Associations and Trade Unions will work closely together to redeploy as many staff as possible during the closure process.
The Prospere Learning Trust and members of the School Improvement Board recognise the continued hard work and commitment from staff during the number of changes in recent years. However, the needs of our students must be at the heart of any decision making process.
The listening period is an opportunity for stakeholders and interested parties to be provided with information as to why the school is closing and how it is proposed the closure process will operate. Likewise, it is an opportunity for stakeholders and interested parties to submit their views on how the school closure process can be best managed.
The Listening Period will run from 14th January 2020 to 11th February 2020. As part of the listening period a number of meetings will be arranged to allow parents to discuss the process with senior leaders of the Prospere Learning Trust. These meetings will be used to gather views and to discuss their personal position in more detail.
Meetings for parents and other stakeholders will be held at Newall Green High School on:
• Parents / carers of Year 9 students: Tuesday 21st January 2020 from 3.30pm to 5pm.
• Parents / carers of Year 10 students: Tuesday 21st January 2020 from 6pm to 7.30pm.
• Parents / carers of Year 7 students: Wednesday 22nd January 2020 from 3.30pm to 5pm.
• Parents / carers of Years 8 students: Wednesday 22nd January 2020 from 6pm to 7.30pm.
• Parent / carers of Y11 students (or any parent / carer unable to make previous meetings): Tuesday 28th January 2020 from 3.30pm to 5pm.
• Other stakeholders: Tuesday 28th January 2020 from 6pm to 7.30pm.
Representations from other interested stakeholders are welcomed. An online feedback form is available below.
Paper Forms are available from the school reception, and should be returned to, the school reception.
Following the Listening Period all representations will be collated and will be considered by the Trust Board. The Board will then forward the representations to the Department for Education and make any adaptations to its closure plans as a result of the representations. The Secretary of State will consider the outcome of the listening period and make a final decision on the closure of the school which will be notified to all parties.
The listening Period is now closed and information submitted will be collated and presented to the Trust Board and forwarded to the Department for Education.