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Fresh fight to save Burnholme Community College
PARENTS fighting to save York’s smallest secondary school claim its closure will make “bad financial sense” and create a shortage of pupil places in the city.
They say keeping it open would mean other secondary schools subsidising it to the tune of about £60,000 each.
But the Burnholme Parents Action Group says new housing developments in York will lead to a “population explosion”, and closing the school would cost the authority much more than it saves if extra places are needed.
If the plans are agreed, a phased closure of Burnholme, which has 230 pupils, would take place over the next two years.
When it was saved from the axe in 2009, a business plan envisaged 60, 70 and 80 Year Seven pupils starting year-on-year, but this September’s proposed intake has only 40 children.
The group said the council’s consultation document stated the average annual subsidy to run Burnholme would be £603,000, adding: “This sounds a great deal, but it is only 0.56 per cent of York’s total education budget, while £35-40 million will be required to build a new school or extend existing schools to accommodate the rise in numbers of children of secondary school age. Why would anybody with any foresight want to close a good local school when there is overwhelming evidence this would be disastrous for the long-term secondary school education plan for the city?”
Coun Janet Looker, the council’s cabinet member for education, children and young people’s services, said: “We have calculated the numbers potentially coming in through the Derwenthorpe development, but it will take some years for significant numbers of secondary school pupils to come into the system and, as far as we can tell, it will not make a significant difference to the needs of the school. Unfortunately, we have to make hard-hearted calculations based on overall facts and figures.”