Parents favour academy plans

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THREE quarters of returned consultation documents voted in favour of keeping Gatehouse School open.

Members of the Milton Keynes Cabinet will hear a report next Tuesday about the future of the boys school after it received a recommendation back in December to consult on whether the school should be closed, or turned into an academy with a specialist sponsor dealing with children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD)

However, after uproar from the parents and students at the school, a protest march has been organised for Tuesday night to stand up against plans of closure ahead of the meeting, but in favour of the new plans which would see it stay open.

Consultation results saw that 54 of 73 were in fact against the closure of the school, including 23 responses from residents.

Gatehouse is the designated school for secondary aged students with BESD but has been a cause for concern following unsatisfactory Ofsted reports.

The recommended plan of action for the school, Cabinet will hear, is to close the school on December 31 2011, and to re-establish a new academy school on January 1 2012.

On Tuesday, Cabinet will be recommended: “That a statutory notice that provides for the closure of The Gatehouse School on December 31 2011 and the opening of a new school on January 1 2012 be published.

“That the preferred option to establish an academy linked to a sponsor with a history of effective intervention and local partners in the MK Behaviour Partnership be pursued.”

Pat Collins, whose son Michael goes to Gatehouse said: “We feel it is a little victory. for us. We know the school is old and needs work, but we just want a place to send our children.

“We don’t mind them changing the name or anything like that, but until we know the school is safe, we will still make our voices heard about it.”