Bilingual academy plans on hold due to lack of demand

Administrative offices for the Inspirar Bilingual Academy in Victoria Street, Spalding.
Administrative offices for the Inspirar Bilingual Academy in Victoria Street, Spalding.
Have your say

Plans to open a new academy in Spalding where primary school children would learn English and Spanish have been put on hold.

Parents who signed up for their children to attend Inspirar Bilingual Academy have been told that it won’t be opening in September as planned because of a “disappointing” response from families across South Holland.

The academy would have been part of the Phoenix Family of Schools (PFOS) whose principal and chief executive officer Carol Clare has been suspended over a “conduct issue”.

An administrative office for the academy was set up in Victoria Street, Spalding.

But a PFOS statement said: “It is with regret that the proposer group for the Inspirar Academy announces the withdrawal of their bid to open a new free school in Spalding in September 2014.

“A number of challenges have arisen which have given the proposer group no option but to take this decision.

“We have contacted each affected family individually to explain the circumstances around our decision and we would like to thank all parents, carers and supporters who expressed an interest in the free school.”

PFOS chairman of governors Denzil Shepheard said the decision not to go ahead with the academy was not linked to an investigation into Mrs Clare’s conduct which our sister paper, the Spalding Guardian, reported on Thursday.

“We have withdrawn the application for Inspirar Academy for the moment but it isn’t related to the suspension of Mrs Clare, although she would have overseen the process of recruiting a principal for the academy,” Mr Shepheard said.

“There was a great deal of interest when the plans were first published last year and the recruitment process for the academy had been going on over the last year.

“But what was a bit disappointing was we hadn’t got as many people signed up as we expected and we gave the commitment to parents that if the academy’s situation changed, they would be kept in touch.

“If you’re dealing with children, sometimes you have to look at the worst case scenario meaning families scrambling around for reception places and it didn’t seem right for us to put them in that situation.”

A Lincolnshire County Council education spokesman said: “For entry to a reception class from September 2014, the application process opened in mid-November 2013 and the closing date was mid-January.

“We are allowing a few extra weeks for applications to be submitted or changed, allowing those parents who had previously applied to Inspirar to choose a different school.”