Concern over merger plan

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

We are writing to you to let you know of our concerns about the proposed merger of the former Bennerley and Ilkeston schools and the eventual closure of the Bennerley site.
As a local community group based in, and serving the people of Cotmanhay we at Action 4 Cotmanhay find the whole consultation process along with the possible closure of the Bennerley site alarming.
We feel that the whole consultation process is biased.
The consultation offers only positive responses to questions posed by Ormiston and distributed to students.
Asking questions such as:

I feel happy about the proposed merger
I would be happy to travel to Ilkeston Academy every day
I would be happy to have some new teachers

These questions only offer participants the opportunity to answer in a positive way to the proposed merger.
The two meetings held by Ormiston, one at the Bennerley site and the other at Ilkeston School, were very poorly promoted with many attendees only finding out about the meetings at the last minute.
There appears to have been no invitations to those meetings sent to local councillors, nor to faith or other interested community groups.
Should the merger go ahead the community of Cotmanhay will not only loose an academically improving school but also many valued community assets.
After school clubs, fishing club, multi use games area, community gym and the local involvement of Sporting Futures and the Multi Agency Team which does so much good work in supporting and helping local families experiencing difficulty.
Our final concern is for the employment of the many support staff at the school many of whom live in Cotmanhay and Ilkeston North, these two wards are already blighted by high levels of unemployment and the loss of these jobs, catering and cleaning staff, those who work in the office and caretakers and maintenance teams will be almost impossible to replace in the current economic climate.
The closure of the Bennerley site will have a massive impact on the community of Cotmanhay, after many years of building the aspiration and vision of our young people Ormiston are preparing to dash all their hopes by closing a hub of the community with a history shared by generations of local people.
They are proposing to close an improving school which although currently facing  challenges regarding student numbers, those numbers  will, according to their own forecasts, begin to rise again in 2 to 3 years time, making the financial viability of the school sustainable after 2015.
This proposal is a short term fix to move the £7.4m available to the Bennerley site to the Ilkeston school site to enable Ormiston to carry out much needed building works there, but for which that site has no government financial support.
Once again Cotmanhay is being robbed by its more affluent neighbours. 

Jane Wilson

Chair Action 4 Cotmanhay

Angela Young


John Allen


Lorraine Clark


June Derbyshire


Dave Morgan