Friday, February 10, 2017

Copeland Lib/Dem candidate puts forward disastrous education plan for Whitehaven

A Lib/Dem election leaflet delivered to my home today by the Royal Mail has this to say about their candidate's education plans for the Whitehaven area

"SHE WILL FIGHT FOR A SINGLE SECONDARY SCHOOL IN WHITEHAVEN"

Good Lord!

In view of her experience as a teacher in West Cumbria, I find it difficult to believe that this is a badly described expression of support for the former proposal for a new education campus in Whitehaven which was originally planned to include Mayfield School, St Benedict's School, and what was then known as Whitehaven School onto one site, but still as three distinct schools.

There is still a "Campus Whitehaven" proposal which currently only includes Mayfield and St Benedicts but not Whitehaven Academy - see report here.

If this isn't about the campus proposal, then either

a) She wants the merger of St Benedict's and Whitehaven Academy, or

c) She wants to close one of those two schools.

The students and staff at both Whitehaven Academy and St Benedict's have had quite a lot to put up with already. Trying to merge these two schools - or closing either of them - would almost certainly cost some teachers their jobs and probably further disrupt the education of the students at one or both schools.

There is the additional complication that St Benedicts and Whitehaven Academy are different types of school.

St Benedict's Catholic High School, to give it the full title, is a catholic voluntary aided school.

Whitehaven Academy is a non-denominational school which started as a grammar school, went comprehensive, and is currently an academy. Putting two schools with a distinctly different ethos together would be a high-risk strategy and any merger or closure would also inevitably reduce the degree of choice in secondary education available in the area.

The Lib/Dems do not appear to have thought this one through.

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