New Burnley free school set to open next month - but it could only be a third full

New Burnley free school set to open next month - but it could only be a third full

New Burnley free school set to open next month - but it could only be a third full

First published in News

A NEW free school is set to open in Burnley next month but will only be around a third full, according to the charity behind it.

Work on Burnley High School's temporary home at Parkhill Business Centre, off Padiham Road, is currently under way.

The site has the capacity for the first intake of 90 Year Seven pupils, but school leaders said only 30 to 35 children had signed up so far.

The new school is due to open on Monday, September 8.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle has heralded the new school, run by the Chapel Street Trust, as a fresh start for local education but union leaders have slammed the move as a waste of money.

It comes as Burnley already has hundreds of empty desks at its superschools.

Union leaders said the low intake showed the new school had disregarded low demand for places in the area. Last year Lancashire County Council revealed there were likely to be several hundred surplus places.

And now the county council’s three-tier forum for Burnley has been informed the figure for this year is nearer to 757.

Borough and county councillor Marcus Johnstone, a former schools’ cabinet member, said: "It sounds like it's not a viable school. Such a small group of pupils mean the curriculum will be so narrow. The whole project should be scrapped. Free schools were just a vanity project of the former education secretary and Burnley parents have said loud and clear they want no part of it."

Lancashire NUT Division Secretary Sam Ud-din said it showed a wasteful approach to the funding required.

He said: “This will have taken a lot of money for a tiny intake of pupils. The NUT has repeatedly warned the Department for Education against the sort of profligate spending which comes with every free school application.

“It drives a coach and horses through council plans for the equal distribution of resources to all children. We warned there was not sufficient demand for school places in the Burnley area. An ordinary school would never have received permission to spend rent and construction money on a non school building while another one is being refurbished. When ordinary schools want to spend money it is called ‘waste’ but when the DfE do it, it is not seen that way. To refurbish two buildings for thirty or so children is ridiculous.”

The free school is also preparing to move into the former Hameldon High School when further construction is completed.

The pupils will be taught by qualified teachers and six teaching assistants in project-learning based lessons.

Executive Principal Elizabeth Haddock said the small intake was similar to the first year of their Manchester sister school which has gone 'from strength to strength'.

Mrs Haddock and headteacher Dawn Forshaw said they were excited about plans to introduce project-based learning for small intimate groups.

Project-based learning means dedicated lessons will only take place for English, Maths and Science. The whole national curriculum is taught, but introduced as part of specialised projects the children work on over the course of a few weeks.

Mrs Haddock said the intake would enhance their emphasis on group learning.

She said: “We have quite a small, intimate school ethos. Our project based learning has been phenomally successful elsewhere and we look forward to succeeding in Burnley.

“After an initial settling in, the children will be working on projects to design bridges which will employ aspects across the curriculum. We will introduce other projects as we get to learn more about the children and what they enjoy. It is very successful at getting the children engaged and learning.”

Headteacher Dawn Forshaw added: “For us it is all about getting the children interested and excited about school work. Parents need more choice and some parents don’t want their children in traditional, fact-based lessons. Most children achieve more when they are given a project or task to achieve.”

Mr Birtwistle, however, said he hoped it would, in time, stop children being ‘bussed out’ for schooling. He said: “It is not much of a surprise that numbers are low.

“Without actually seeing the finished building, or knowing anyone who has been there, some people will be cautious. I think it will go on to build numbers.

“Also, the children who are there this year will get the best education possible with such little class sizes. From my perspective parents need more choice to prevent the bus loads of children who leave Burnley every day to go to school somewhere else.”

Les Turner, Lancashire’s representative for the National Association of Headteachers, said: “That sort of intake is what a primary school would expect to see. It must demonstrate that there isn’t the demand in Burnley for another high school.

“When school places are in the central control of a local authority it is very easy to see where there is a shortfall. When provision is broken up it is hard for one provider to know what demand is out there”.

The Department for Education said costs for the new school were not available until the school was up and running.

Comments (10)

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7:12am Thu 21 Aug 14

technician1 says...

A complete waste of money and something that should have been scrapped at the initial idea!
A complete waste of money and something that should have been scrapped at the initial idea! technician1
  • Score: 12

7:13am Thu 21 Aug 14

technician1 says...

A complete waste of money and should have been scrapped at the initial idea stage. For once, I actually agree with what the NUT are saying here.
A complete waste of money and should have been scrapped at the initial idea stage. For once, I actually agree with what the NUT are saying here. technician1
  • Score: 10

7:34am Thu 21 Aug 14

DaveBurnley says...

So the money allocated for education will now be spread out thinner. That will really help to raise standards.

Gove's legacy will drag education down to a new low.
So the money allocated for education will now be spread out thinner. That will really help to raise standards. Gove's legacy will drag education down to a new low. DaveBurnley
  • Score: 11

11:45am Thu 21 Aug 14

fkhan says...

I wonder whether the NUT will voice their concerns at the poor results achieved at schools in the local area??
I wonder whether the NUT will voice their concerns at the poor results achieved at schools in the local area?? fkhan
  • Score: -6

5:02pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Owd Akela says...

Would have been better building a C of E High School and leave St Christophers for the children of Hyndburn.
Would have been better building a C of E High School and leave St Christophers for the children of Hyndburn. Owd Akela
  • Score: 4

6:44pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Course70 says...

Sadly the Pastor at the Life Church has left Sycamore Avenue residents overlooking a derelict site,fir at least 5 years.Why on earth has he got involved in a new school with 30 of an intake to date.surely these people should put their own house in order before engaging in another speculative venture.What sort of education are these 30 children going to get.
The site ,having recently visited it,is nowhere suitable for a school?
Sadly the Pastor at the Life Church has left Sycamore Avenue residents overlooking a derelict site,fir at least 5 years.Why on earth has he got involved in a new school with 30 of an intake to date.surely these people should put their own house in order before engaging in another speculative venture.What sort of education are these 30 children going to get. The site ,having recently visited it,is nowhere suitable for a school? Course70
  • Score: 5

10:30pm Thu 21 Aug 14

turbo5 says...

Fantastic head teacher, the idea is good but flawed. Pity the school was hijacked by the Life church and Lib Dem party.
It wont convince the parents to take their children there rather than St Christophers. firstly its not backed by the Cof E and secondly there is no exclusivity on entrance criteria.
Fantastic head teacher, the idea is good but flawed. Pity the school was hijacked by the Life church and Lib Dem party. It wont convince the parents to take their children there rather than St Christophers. firstly its not backed by the Cof E and secondly there is no exclusivity on entrance criteria. turbo5
  • Score: 3

8:31am Fri 22 Aug 14

Excluded again says...

turbo5 wrote:
Fantastic head teacher, the idea is good but flawed. Pity the school was hijacked by the Life church and Lib Dem party.
It wont convince the parents to take their children there rather than St Christophers. firstly its not backed by the Cof E and secondly there is no exclusivity on entrance criteria.
This says everything that is wrong about faith schools. People want them for their 'exclusivity and entrance criteria' - read that as keep out the poor, the Asians/Christians/Hi
ndus/Jews (delete as appropriate), anyone else we don't really like.

Here's a radical idea. The state funds from our taxes schools for the children of our citizens. All these schools should be open to any child of our citizens and if there is more demand than places, those children living closest to the school get priority.

Which God the parents of the child believe in should have as much relevance to getting into a state funded school as which football team they support.
[quote][p][bold]turbo5[/bold] wrote: Fantastic head teacher, the idea is good but flawed. Pity the school was hijacked by the Life church and Lib Dem party. It wont convince the parents to take their children there rather than St Christophers. firstly its not backed by the Cof E and secondly there is no exclusivity on entrance criteria.[/p][/quote]This says everything that is wrong about faith schools. People want them for their 'exclusivity and entrance criteria' - read that as keep out the poor, the Asians/Christians/Hi ndus/Jews (delete as appropriate), anyone else we don't really like. Here's a radical idea. The state funds from our taxes schools for the children of our citizens. All these schools should be open to any child of our citizens and if there is more demand than places, those children living closest to the school get priority. Which God the parents of the child believe in should have as much relevance to getting into a state funded school as which football team they support. Excluded again
  • Score: 5

4:33pm Sat 23 Aug 14

turbo5 says...

Excluded again wrote:
turbo5 wrote:
Fantastic head teacher, the idea is good but flawed. Pity the school was hijacked by the Life church and Lib Dem party.
It wont convince the parents to take their children there rather than St Christophers. firstly its not backed by the Cof E and secondly there is no exclusivity on entrance criteria.
This says everything that is wrong about faith schools. People want them for their 'exclusivity and entrance criteria' - read that as keep out the poor, the Asians/Christians/Hi

ndus/Jews (delete as appropriate), anyone else we don't really like.

Here's a radical idea. The state funds from our taxes schools for the children of our citizens. All these schools should be open to any child of our citizens and if there is more demand than places, those children living closest to the school get priority.

Which God the parents of the child believe in should have as much relevance to getting into a state funded school as which football team they support.
Don't really agree with your response. since when has going to church been exclusively for the rich ? its nothing to do with money . Regarding exclusivity, I doubt many of the parents are genuine church goers but go to church for one reason to get their children into these schools.
Why ?
Regardless of wealth or religious affiliation these parents get out of their beds every Sunday morning to go to church with the intention of getting their chldren a place at school where all the parents have endured this ritual for numerous years. It says something that the parents are willing to put the effort into their childrens education. Before anyone starts saying their son or daughter got 10 A stars at the normal comp well done, you have a truely gifted child you must be proud of. Some children will shine where ever they go others don't.
[quote][p][bold]Excluded again[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]turbo5[/bold] wrote: Fantastic head teacher, the idea is good but flawed. Pity the school was hijacked by the Life church and Lib Dem party. It wont convince the parents to take their children there rather than St Christophers. firstly its not backed by the Cof E and secondly there is no exclusivity on entrance criteria.[/p][/quote]This says everything that is wrong about faith schools. People want them for their 'exclusivity and entrance criteria' - read that as keep out the poor, the Asians/Christians/Hi ndus/Jews (delete as appropriate), anyone else we don't really like. Here's a radical idea. The state funds from our taxes schools for the children of our citizens. All these schools should be open to any child of our citizens and if there is more demand than places, those children living closest to the school get priority. Which God the parents of the child believe in should have as much relevance to getting into a state funded school as which football team they support.[/p][/quote]Don't really agree with your response. since when has going to church been exclusively for the rich ? its nothing to do with money . Regarding exclusivity, I doubt many of the parents are genuine church goers but go to church for one reason to get their children into these schools. Why ? Regardless of wealth or religious affiliation these parents get out of their beds every Sunday morning to go to church with the intention of getting their chldren a place at school where all the parents have endured this ritual for numerous years. It says something that the parents are willing to put the effort into their childrens education. Before anyone starts saying their son or daughter got 10 A stars at the normal comp well done, you have a truely gifted child you must be proud of. Some children will shine where ever they go others don't. turbo5
  • Score: 1

7:28am Tue 26 Aug 14

Excluded again says...

turbo5 wrote:
Excluded again wrote:
turbo5 wrote:
Fantastic head teacher, the idea is good but flawed. Pity the school was hijacked by the Life church and Lib Dem party.
It wont convince the parents to take their children there rather than St Christophers. firstly its not backed by the Cof E and secondly there is no exclusivity on entrance criteria.
This says everything that is wrong about faith schools. People want them for their 'exclusivity and entrance criteria' - read that as keep out the poor, the Asians/Christians/Hi


ndus/Jews (delete as appropriate), anyone else we don't really like.

Here's a radical idea. The state funds from our taxes schools for the children of our citizens. All these schools should be open to any child of our citizens and if there is more demand than places, those children living closest to the school get priority.

Which God the parents of the child believe in should have as much relevance to getting into a state funded school as which football team they support.
Don't really agree with your response. since when has going to church been exclusively for the rich ? its nothing to do with money . Regarding exclusivity, I doubt many of the parents are genuine church goers but go to church for one reason to get their children into these schools.
Why ?
Regardless of wealth or religious affiliation these parents get out of their beds every Sunday morning to go to church with the intention of getting their chldren a place at school where all the parents have endured this ritual for numerous years. It says something that the parents are willing to put the effort into their childrens education. Before anyone starts saying their son or daughter got 10 A stars at the normal comp well done, you have a truely gifted child you must be proud of. Some children will shine where ever they go others don't.
For instance, it says that they do not have a bar job that keeps them working til 2 or 3 in the morning on a Saturday night or have to work shifts or have a cleaning job which means they have to be at work on a Sunday morning or work on a checkout on a Sunday morning. Or any number of other working class jobs which means that having every Sunday morning free if you want to is a matter of choice.

And why should the children of parents who have disorganised lives have to suffer further disadvantage? Or parents without a car who cannot get to a church on a Sunday because there is no public transport?

You post proves my point. Faith schools are set up so that the kids of nice middle class people with more freedom over their working lives can go to a school where the kids of the poor and the disorganised are kept out as much as possible.
[quote][p][bold]turbo5[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Excluded again[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]turbo5[/bold] wrote: Fantastic head teacher, the idea is good but flawed. Pity the school was hijacked by the Life church and Lib Dem party. It wont convince the parents to take their children there rather than St Christophers. firstly its not backed by the Cof E and secondly there is no exclusivity on entrance criteria.[/p][/quote]This says everything that is wrong about faith schools. People want them for their 'exclusivity and entrance criteria' - read that as keep out the poor, the Asians/Christians/Hi ndus/Jews (delete as appropriate), anyone else we don't really like. Here's a radical idea. The state funds from our taxes schools for the children of our citizens. All these schools should be open to any child of our citizens and if there is more demand than places, those children living closest to the school get priority. Which God the parents of the child believe in should have as much relevance to getting into a state funded school as which football team they support.[/p][/quote]Don't really agree with your response. since when has going to church been exclusively for the rich ? its nothing to do with money . Regarding exclusivity, I doubt many of the parents are genuine church goers but go to church for one reason to get their children into these schools. Why ? Regardless of wealth or religious affiliation these parents get out of their beds every Sunday morning to go to church with the intention of getting their chldren a place at school where all the parents have endured this ritual for numerous years. It says something that the parents are willing to put the effort into their childrens education. Before anyone starts saying their son or daughter got 10 A stars at the normal comp well done, you have a truely gifted child you must be proud of. Some children will shine where ever they go others don't.[/p][/quote]For instance, it says that they do not have a bar job that keeps them working til 2 or 3 in the morning on a Saturday night or have to work shifts or have a cleaning job which means they have to be at work on a Sunday morning or work on a checkout on a Sunday morning. Or any number of other working class jobs which means that having every Sunday morning free if you want to is a matter of choice. And why should the children of parents who have disorganised lives have to suffer further disadvantage? Or parents without a car who cannot get to a church on a Sunday because there is no public transport? You post proves my point. Faith schools are set up so that the kids of nice middle class people with more freedom over their working lives can go to a school where the kids of the poor and the disorganised are kept out as much as possible. Excluded again
  • Score: 0
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