Thursday, 05 August 2021

Chiltern Edge School set to be saved from closure

Chiltern Edge School set to be saved from closure

CHILTERN Edge School in Sonning Common looks set to remain open.

Lucy Butler, director of children’s services at Oxfordshire County Council, has recommended the authority does not go forward with the proposed closure.

Her report will be considered by the county council’s cabinet at County Hall, in Oxford, next Tuesday (18) when a final decision will be made.

A consultation on the closure of the school, in Reades Lane, was launched in April after the school was placed in special measures due to an “inadequate” Ofsted report. 

The consultation closed on June 30 and saw more than 1,200 responses, with the "vast majority” opposed closure.

Ms Butler has recommended an external review on progress made at the school takes place in October, ideally completed by Ofsted.

The review will look at addressing the weaknesses identified in the report, which include low expectations of pupils by staff, not checking work closely and teachers not challenging students effectively.

Another condition is the construction of a balanced budget as the school has accumulated debts of about £500,000 in recent years.

The county council will then review the progress of the school at a meeting in November.

Councillor Hilary Hibbert-Biles, the authority’s cabinet member for education, said: “We are working towards a lasting solution which both enables the school to stay open and delivers the much-needed improvements demanded by Ofsted.

“Our number one priority remains to ensure that good educational opportunities are available to children in this part of Oxfordshire.

“The first important steps have been taken by the school’s very capable new leadership team and it is right that more time should now be given for the school to turn itself around. 

“During my meetings with school staff, families and campaigners, I have been impressed by the tremendous level of support for the school and the high regard in which it is so obviously held – despite the very serious criticisms from Ofsted. 

“I know the last few weeks have been a very difficult time for staff, pupils and their families, and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the consultation to help find a solution which, above all else, will bring about the much needed improvement in the education of local children.”

The county council is in ongoing discussions with the Maiden Erlegh Trust, a multi-academy trust in east Reading, to sponsor the school and convert it to an academy. 

For the full story, see this Friday’s Henley Standard.

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