MP resigned to new academy opening in Spalding
South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes has said he is “disappointed” that a new school in Spalding for challenging children is set to go ahead.
Mr Hayes was responding to confirmation that Springwell Academy Lincolnshire, based at the former South Holland Post 16 Centre in Matmore Gate, has been given approval by the Department for Education.
Following the public meeting about Springwell Academy that was held in Spalding last December, I would have expected Wellspring to have made the public aware of the results of the public consultation by all sensible means
Wellspring Academy Trust, the educational body behind the new school, plans to teach up to 250 pupils aged five to 16 across four sites in Lincolnshire, including the Post 16 Centre where the new school is due to open in September.
Mr Hayes said: “As it’s an existing educational site, there were very few mechanisms that we had at our disposal to stop the new academy from happening.
“However, following the public meeting about Springwell Academy that was held in Spalding last December, I would have expected Wellspring to have made the public aware of the results of the public consultation by all sensible means.
“The fact that it was only available online, and then we had to wait for it to be published by the local newspaper (our sister newspaper, the Lincolnshire Free Press, last Tuesday) before anybody knew anything about it, wasn’t really in the spirit of the meeting.”
In its public consultation report, Wellspring said: “The Trust, in partnership with Lincolnshire County Council and the Department for Education, is investing significant amounts of money in providing the best possible education for the children of Lincolnshire who are unable to access mainstream education and are at risk of permanent exclusion.
“Springwell Academy Lincolnshire has a core purpose to deliver education programmes for challenging and/or vulnerable children and young people who are not in school for a variety of reasons.
“It is clear that some residents are concerned about an increase in traffic in the area, along Matmore Gate and surrounding roads.
“Associated with this is the worry of excess noise, as well as the safeguarding of pupils and local residents.
“In response to these concerns, Springwell Academy Lincolnshire will work closely with the local authority to design travel plans and implement any measures to help control the flow of traffic in the area, keeping impact on the roads and noise levels to a minimum.”
But Mr Hayes said: “I had hoped that the Trust would see sense in that I don’t believe the Post 16 Centre is the right location for this school.
“Therefore, it’s disappointing that they haven’t discussed it and what I will now be doing is to write to the Trust, highlighting again the community’s concerns, ensuring that if it does go ahead, those concerns are answered with what happens on the site.
“I’ve no reason to disbelieve the Trust’s assurances that they will do the right thing, but we’ll be monitoring subsequent events very closely.