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Speke's last school standing to close

Just 34 children want to go to 916-place Parklands

Published on March 14th 2014.


Speke's last school standing to close
 

THE last remaining high school in Speke is to close this summer after parents turned their backs on the school. 

Just 34 applications have been made for places at Parklands High School for the 2014 intake at the school which already has one in five of its 916 desks standing empty.
 
It will mean pupils from Speke having to travel to schools in Woolton, Garston and Gateacre for their high school education. 
 
Parklands was only opened in 2002 as part of a massive regeneration programme in Speke, replacing the old Speke Comprehensive.
 
The closure recommendation is being made  to the council’s Cabinet on Friday 21 March and follows an unsuccessful drive to reverse a slide in pupil numbers, which have been declining steadily over the last few years.
 
There are currently only 198 pupils at the 916 place school, meaning almost 80 per cent of desks are empty.
 
Only 34 children have applied for places at the Speke school in September 2014 – a fall of more than half compared to 2008 when the intake was 84.
 
Exam results have also remained significantly lower than other Liverpool schools – with just 32 per cent of pupils getting five good GCSEs including English and maths, compared to 58 per cent across the rest of the city.
 
Education watchdog OFSTED placed the school in special measures following a recent inspection, meaning the city council has had to examine options for its future.
 
Cllr Jane Corbett, the council’s cabinet member for education, said: “Closing a school is always a matter of great sadness, but with only one in five desks occupied at Parklands there are simply not enough pupils attending to make it viable.
 
“It is a real shame that we have not been able to make any other option stack up, and I know this will be upsetting for everyone who has been involved in exhausting every single option to try and make the school sustainable over the years.
 
“Sadly, we are now at the stage where the numbers are so low that it is not able to offer a full curriculum, and this is simply not in the best interests of the pupils.
“I would like to thank staff for their hard work and commitment to the school, and the parents, carers and pupils for the way in which they have conducted themselves during the consultation, and for making a positive contribution.
“We will work with pupils, parents and carers to find places at other schools and ensure a smooth transition, and are also looking at how we can help with transport and uniform costs.
 
“We will also be working with teaching staff to help them secure alternative employment.”
 
It is being proposed that the school close in August 2014 with pupils transferring to others in the area including ESLA (Enterprise South Liverpool Academy), St Julies and Gateacre.
The council aims to seek alternative uses for the empty school building.

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