The Bath Studio School appears to be facing closure.
Wellsway Multi Academy Trust, who run the school, have asked permission from the Secretary of State for Education to close the school, and have received ‘in principle’ approval. A five week listening period will now start, where those affected can comment on the plans.
If at the end of the listening period the closure is given formal approval, the school will shut in 2020, with no new admissions from 2019.
The decision was announced via e-mail to parents on Monday evening; by the Trust who cited “lack of demand” as the reason for its closure.
It’s the second school in south west Bath to close in 6 months, after Bath Community Academy shut its doors at the end of the summer term.
Many parents in the South West of the city and in the surrounding villages now face an even more significant challenge in finding school places for their children.
Reacting to the news, Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath, said:
“This is a massive let-down for many children and parents in Bath. This free school has just not delivered. It is the result of a Conservative party folly on education which has entirely fragmented our education system, removed accountability and failed to deliver proper results. Local authorities need clear responsibility for local schools.”
Difficulties for The Bath Studio School
Bath Studio School was opened in September 2014, and emphasises its “state of the art recording studios and facilities, small class sizes, industry links and sense of community.”
However it was rated “requires improvement” in its first ever Ofsted report in June 2017. The education watchdog criticised senior leaders, governors and the trust for not doing enough to tackle the areas requiring improvement.
It has also faced leadership difficulties recently, with its former head teacher Colin Cattanach absent from the school for five months.
Lib Dem Education spokesperson, Councillor Alison Millar, said:“This news is another blow to families in South West Bath, coming hard on the heels of the closure of Bath Community Academy earlier this year.
“The Conservatives’ model of education based on the whims of market forces clearly isn’t working in our area. There is no accountability to local parents or to the Council and it seems a school can be opened and closed without any reference to where places are needed or what types of education families prefer.
“I am also concerned by the way some of these Trusts operate. Education is too important to be driven by funding overinflated executive salaries.”
Many children living in South West Bath currently attend Bath Studio School. Councillor Tim Ball, who represents Twerton ward, commented:
“A lot of children who would otherwise have naturally attended Bath Community Academy were directed to the Studio School. Now this is closing as well, they are being left without a mainstream, local secondary school. Parents and pupils will now be facing an anxious period of uncertainty.”
Councillor Steve Hedges, who represents Odd Down ward, added:
“The Lib Dems have been campaigning for the return of a good secondary school to South West Bath. We need a school which will meet local needs for our children and stop them having to travel half-way across the city every day. The Council owns the former BCA site; the Council should be able to provide the school we need.”
A spokesperson for B&NES told Bath Newseum:
“The Bath Studio School admits pupils from Year 10 upwards, all current students will be able to complete their education at the school. Closure of the school will have no negative impact on the number of secondary school places available for Year 7 intake, where pupils transfer from primary to secondary school. ”
To make your views known regarding the plans, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.