MP “profoundly moved” listening to Southfield parents and carers
Dame Andrea Leadsom has asked for an urgent review of the decision to close the school
South Northants MP Dame Andrea Leadsom says she was “profoundly moved” listening to the heartfelt testimonials from parents and carers of children who attend Southfield Primary Academy in Brackley. The school is set to close at the end of this school year, after funding from the Department for Education was withdrawn.
Brackley Town Council held an Extraordinary Meeting on October 13, during which the case for saving the school was made passionately. Councillors heard from parents with one telling the meeting she was “appalled” and another saying the decision left her “utterly disgusted”.
Dame Andrea attended that meeting and has now written to the Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, asking for an urgent review of the decision.
She said: “It is clear that the staff at Southfield Primary School consistently go above and beyond, creating a joyful and nurturing learning environment.
“Since the meeting, concerned parents, carers and school staff have contacted me, sharing their anxieties about the decision to close the school and the process being followed.”
Amongst the issues, Dame Andrea highlights concerns that proper procedures for closing the school have not been followed. She notes the school’s small financial deficit, partly attributed to low pupil numbers, but questions “the significant historical financial mismanagement and a debt owed to the now-defunct Northamptonshire County Council”. It is understood West Northamptonshire Council is either unwilling or unable to write off the debt.
As a growing market town with around 12,000 new houses planned, the MP questions why no medium to long-term projection of pupil numbers has not been provided for Brackley. She also asks why a proposal to utilise the school for a Special Educational Needs and Disability provision appears to have been shelved.
In conclusion, Dame Andrea writes: “In all the circumstances, I would be grateful if you would please arrange for an urgent review of the important issues raised by concerned parents, carers, and staff of Southfield School, and let me have your comments as soon as possible to enable me to report to them.”
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam