THE CHARITY planning to take over a ‘struggling’ Cotmanhay school is to give parents the opportunity to ask questions and air concerns next month.
Leaflets will be distributed by Birmingham-based Ormiston Trust this week inviting residents to have their say on proposals to hand Bennerley Business and Enterprise College over to the trust’s control – and outside of state control.
A spokesman for the trust said that nothing was set in stone but that it plans to make the school its 12th academy in the UK in September this year.
But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has again voiced its concerns for the future of the town’s children if the move goes ahead.
NUT county secretary John Holmes said Derbyshire County Council was unlikely to support the move if Ormiston did not stand by its pledge to offer cash to help rebuild parts of the century-old school.
“We don’t agree with schools under the local authority’s control being broken up like this,” he said.
“Parents will make their own decision as to what’s best for the school but they should look very carefully at the provision already available in the school.”
An announcement on the school’s website from Ormiston reveals that if a deal is sealed, a sixth form will be provided at the school for the first time.
Managing director Joyce Hodgetts said: “Ormiston Trust is committed to creating a successful and viable academy in Bennerley.
“We will be developing programmes and a curriculum which we hope will be attractive to parents and interesting for students.
“We have secured funding from the Deaprtment for Education to extensively refurbish the buildings over the next three years.
“The school has a lot of potential and there are a lot of things developing which will make the proposed academy a really exciting place to be.
“With new provisions and imaginative links with other organisations in the area we are looking to attract more youngsters to attend.”
The plans to convert the school have been on the cards since at least early last year when it was the previous Labour Government’s policy to offer academy status to struggling schools.
No one was available from the school to comment.
The consultation event is due to be held at the school from on Tuesday February 15.