STRAIGHT TALK: Please be straight with us

Andrew Brookes.
Andrew Brookes.

There’s been a nasty taste left in the mouths of Crowland people after the row over the future of the St Guthlac School.

Parents sat through a series of overlapping consultations that aimed to determine whether Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) should axe the school and bundle it together with the George Farmer Technology and Language College in Holbeach – with the pair to be re-packaged as an academy.

They were promised that the consultations were not pre-determined but then were told that LCC was possibly going to have to close the school anyway because it was losing money.

A public meeting heard an email from Coun Patricia Bradwell that said it had “always been the plan” to close the school. Coun Bradwell, to my knowledge, never denied the sentiments of the email but simply bleated that it shouldn’t have been read out.

It felt very much like a done deal and it did nothing to help the feeling that Crowland is overlooked by the powers-that-be in their Lincoln HQ.

Those same powers-that-be then seemed to admit this week that campaigners were right to complain that Holbeach is too far away for their children to travel. They did that by putting Crowland in the Deepings School’s “Designated Transport Area” – ie the natural “catchment area” – and not Holbeach’s.

So no transport from Crowland to the school that replaced its secondary school?

Well that’s what this (from LCC’s school services manager to a parent) says: “Children in Crowland joining secondary education in September 2012 would be entitled to transport to the Deepings School. They would not be entitled to transport to the Holbeach Academy unless they were on the roll of Crowland at August 31.”

We had that confirmed by LCC (apart from a “siblings rule”) but, after a chat with MP John Hayes yesterday, we were then told “additional provision has been agreed for any parents of children in the Crowland area – they can have transport for any of their children wanting to attend the Holbeach Academy.”

U turn anyone? The council has got to be straight with the people and end the farce that has been this sorry school saga. It’s an embarrasment and unfair on all the pupils and parents involved.