Councillor Edgar commented, “I am fully aware that there are some very strong feelings locally about Fort Hill Community School, for which I have a deep respect. In carefully considering the recommended action to be taken on the school’s future, I will be taking account of the responses to the public consultation, including the suggestions for alternative options and the analysis of those, alongside the facts about the school’s current status and future prospects.”
The potential move to amalgamate the schools has arisen as an option to address the issue of decreasing numbers of children attending the school, as well as the need to address the current underperformance of the school.
Schools’ budgets are determined by the number of pupils attending the school. In recent years, the number of pupils on each school’s roll has been in decline - out of a total of 145 places available in Year 7 (the first year of secondary school education), there were just 38 applications for FHCS as a first choice, this coming September.
A public consultation, held between 19 January and 2 March 2017, invited the whole school community and other interested parties, to contribute their views about the way forward for FHCS. Suggestions for alternative options were invited as part of that consultation. Over 900 responses were received during the six week consultation period.
If Councillor Edgar agrees that an amalgamation is the best solution and should go ahead, the two schools would be amalgamated on the CBEC site. The Fort Hill site would not be large enough to accommodate an amalgamated school.
Every effort would be made to ensure that pupils would continue to follow the curriculum they are currently studying, and support would be provided to all pupils affected by any changes that would be implemented, in order to minimise any disruption to their learning.
Should the decision be to progress with the amalgamation, a Public Notice would be published, in accordance with section 15 and 19 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, to discontinue Fort Hill Community School and resourced provision with effect from 31 August 2017.