Drive for Free School in Crowland gains momentum

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CAMPAIGNERS have turned their attention to trying to set up a new “Free School” as they look to cope with the decision to shut Crowland’s secondary school.

Last week Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) opted to shut the St Guthlac School and the George Farmer Technology and Language College in Holbeach and re-open the two sites as University Academy Holbeach.

The academy plans to shut the St Guthlac site by the 2013/14 school year and have all pupils in new buildings in Holbeach.

That prompted anger from parents in Crowland who do not want their children to have to travel to Holbeach and feel their voices were ignored by decision makers.

The campaigners have set up Education4Crowland and are already drumming up support for a new Free School to replace the St Guthlac.

Free Schools see groups of teachers, parents or members of the community establish their own schools, free of local authority control.

Chairman Glyn Mayley added “Despite the decision by LCC, we will push ahead with our efforts to secure secondary education in Crowland via our Free School proposals.

“We’ve had good returns of the Community Support survey and are on target with the Parental Support survey to obtain the numbers we need to move forward.

“We have information from one potential partner that suggests a Free School with numbers similar to what St Guthlac has now is financially viable.”

Campaigners were disappointed to find that last week’s decision could not be “called in” – a process in which councillors spark a second look at what was decided.

The plan had been before a scrutiny committee before it went to the council’s executive so the decision could be made to open in time for next year.