Meeting call over school closure plan

NILA 02-10-12 BE 13 Ormiston enterprise academy, Cotmanhay.
NILA 02-10-12 BE 13 Ormiston enterprise academy, Cotmanhay.

Erewash MP Jessica Lee has suggested that if Ormiston Enterprise Academy in Cotmanhay closes, a technical college should be built in its place.

In her Advertiser column last week, she said it was important to ‘have a plan B’, in case the merger with Ormiston Ilketon Academy does go ahead.

“What we need now is a decision with what’s happening with the site,” she added this week.

“But if we can come up with a facility that’s a forward-looking improved educational facility, that is a positive thing.

“It doesn’t take away that there’s uncertainty and disruption and I am concerned about that.”

School governor and Labour councillor Brian Lucas challenged Tory Miss Lee to a debate this week and called on her to hold a public meeting.

On the technical college, he said: “Jessica Lee’s comment is simply passing the buck and refusing to take up cudgels on behalf of the entire Cotmanhay community who are united in wanting the existing school to stay open.”

He called on her to face him in a public debate on the future of the school, claiming she was ‘sitting on the fence’.

Miss Lee declined his invitation, saying: “It’s disappointing that Cllr Lucas has decided to bring party politics into the very real challenges we have facing the future of the Bennerley school site.

“At the heart of this issue and what really, really matters is trying to ensure the best possible education for all students in the Cotmanhay area, and how this can best be achieved.”

She said she was available to meet constituents ‘every week, face-to-face’ and has already met with education Minister Lord Hill ‘to convey the strength of local feeling’.

The governing board behind Ormiston are analysing data from the recent public consultation on the school merger and are due to put forward a recommendation to the Department for Education.