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Burnholme Community College closure sealed
CITY leaders have sealed the fate of a York secondary school which will close for good in two years after being deemed too small to survive.
Burnholme Community College , where only 40 students have applied to go in September, will be wound down to closure by August 2014 after City of York Council ’s cabinet rubber-stamped the move last night.
The authority says keeping it open until 2021 would cost at least £5.2 million. The school will have only 270 pupils out of a potential 600 next year and education bosses said it was “highly unlikely” its roll would be more than 380 by 2020, meaning it would still be “financially unviable”.
Campaigners who handed a 1,996-name petition opposing closure to the council last week fear children’s education will be harmed, students with special educational needs will be affected and community facilities will be lost.
They claimed Burnholme, York’s smallest secondary school, would be needed to cope with population growth in east York.
The phased closure will allow 172 current Year Nine, Ten and 11 students to complete their education at Burnholme, while 114 students in Years Seven and Eight will move to other schools in 2013 and 2014 to begin their GCSEs.
In a statement, the Burnholme Parents’ Action Group said: “The council has used low pupil growth numbers to decide it will cope with a huge increase in demand for secondary places by closing small schools like Burnholme and expanding others, but the cost of this programme and how it will be achieved is unknown – there is no plan.
“The council’s position has remained unchanged throughout consultation and we met with nothing but sympathy and stonewalling from councillors and officials who were determined on closure.
“A Labour administration has decided to close a school providing community-based education and services to one of the most challenged areas of York.
“The group now turns to helping achieve the best outcome from this gamble with children, communities and public money.”
Coun Janet Looker , cabinet member for education, children and young people’s services, said: “Although small can be beautiful, when a secondary school reaches a certain size, it starts to prejudice the quality of education for children.
“Burnholme has offered a good education, but our concerns are its long-term ability to maintain that quality of education when it is going to need such a significant subsidy.
“We are going to work very hard with the community and the school to make sure the next two years is as easy for youngsters and their families as possible.”