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Delay to opening new special school in Spalding is 'unacceptable', admits Government




A Department for Education spokesman admitted to "unacceptable delays" in the opening of the new Springwell Alternative Academy Spalding. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG010216-124TW.
A Department for Education spokesman admitted to "unacceptable delays" in the opening of the new Springwell Alternative Academy Spalding. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG010216-124TW.

An unexpected delay to the opening of a new school for challenging and vulnerable children in Spalding is "unacceptable", according to the Government.

Problems with refurbishing the former South Holland Post 16 Centre for use by South Yorkshire-based educators Wellspring Academy Trust were confirmed by the Department for Education (DfE) this week.

A DfE spokesman spoke to the Lincolnshire Free Press on Wednesday, a day after our newspaper published a letter from Wellspring chief executive officer Mark Wilson admitting to their "considerable frustration" with the hold-up in opening its planned Springwell Alternative Academy Spalding school at the Matmore Gate site.

Mr Wilson said: "Wellspring has received confirmation from the DfE of a delay to the proposed opening date.

"This is a source of considerable frustration to all concerned.

"A revised date for opening is not yet available, but will be communicated publicly as soon as it is.

"Both Wellspring and the DfE remain fully committed to the opening of Springwell Alternative Academy Spalding at the site."

The new school has the support of both Lincolnshire County Council and the DfE, despite opposition from residents, district councillors and John Hayes, MP for South Holland and the Deepings, primarily over fears of increased traffic congestion in Matmore Gate.

A DfE spokesman said: "We want all children to have access to high-quality education which is why we are providing new alternative provision free schools in Lincolnshire.

The Department for Education is backing plans for a new alternative academy in Spalding.
The Department for Education is backing plans for a new alternative academy in Spalding.

A DfE spokesman said: "We want all children to have access to high-quality education which is why we are providing new alternative provision free schools in Lincolnshire.

"In terms of Springwell Alternative Academy Spalding, there were some unacceptable delays in refurbishing the site and we are seeking another contractor for the work.

"The majority of these free schools are expected to open next year, although there is no specific date when the Spalding development will be completed.”

Heather Sandy, Assistant Director of Children's Services for Lincolnshire County Council, said: "We have been informed of the delay by Wellspring Academy Trust.

Lincolnshire County Council (3533984)
Lincolnshire County Council (3533984)

Heather Sandy, Assistant Director of Children's Services for Lincolnshire County Council, said: "We have been informed of the delay by Wellspring Academy Trust.

"We expect the DfE will be doing all it can to push for the necessary work to be completed quickly so that the new school can open as soon as possible.

"When it does, it will be an important addition to our range of schools in the county."



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