9th June 2009
Sheffield Green Party has rejected the recommendation by Council officers to close Abbeydale Grange School. The Greens support the Advisory Group’s recommendation to refurbish the school, develop post-16 provision and explore federation with another school or partner.
Cllr Jillian Creasy, who represents Central ward which includes the catchment area for Abbeydale Grange, said,”Our top priority is the welfare and education of the children attending the school which will not necessarily be best served by dispersal to other undersubscribed schools. Despite its many concerns, OFSTED recognised Abbeydale’s strengths in areas of personal development and
well being. The Council’s own review said the school was good at providing specialised teaching for new arrivals to the city and it is also known for its support for vulnerable children.”
She added: “We accept the officers’ recommendation that all secondary schools should cater inclusively for their local children, including new arrivals, but recognise that it will take time to build capacity in many schools for this to happen. This should be taking place in parallel with improvements at Abbeydale
Grange so that it begins to attract a higher proportion of children from its local area.”
Cllr Bernard Little, who took part in the consultation said, “Green Party policy is to protect small schools where possible, encouraging them to cluster or federate to share resources and specialist staff. Although secondary pupil numbers are currently decreasing, we know that they are predicted to rise again from 2015. It makes no sense to close a school now, especially when there are
funds earmarked to refurbish or rebuild it, and then to have to put up temporary classrooms in other schools later.”