Complete Proposal to Discontinue use of the Mablethorpe site
and consolidate provision for Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College
at the Louth site, as a single site school.
MATTERS TO BE SPECIFIED UNDER SECTION 19 (3) OF THE EDUCATION AND INSPECTIONS ACT 2006,
UNDER PRESCRIBED REGULATION 4 (3)
This proposal is published by the Governing Body of Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College (MDTC), Monks’ Dyke Road, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 9AW, regarding discontinuing use of the Mablethorpe site and consolidating the school at the Louth site as a single site school. The school is a Foundation school maintained by the Local Authority (LA).
The proposal is to discontinue the use of the Mablethorpe site at Seaholme Road, Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire, LN12 2DF from August 31, 2016 and consolidate provision at the Louth site (Monks’ Dyke Road, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 9AW) from 1 September, 2016.
Context and reason for closure of Mablethorpe site
Following the merger of Monks’ Dyke Technology College in Louth and Tennyson High School in Mablethorpe in September 2012, Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College operated as a split site school across two separate sites in Louth and Mablethorpe. The sites are15 miles apart, which is the greatest distance between any two school sites in Lincolnshire. The merger enabled secondary provision to continue to be provided in Mablethorpe, as pupil numbers at Tennyson High School as a stand-alone school were worryingly low.
Because of the distance between the sites, both sites deliver education to Years 7,8,9,10 and 11 by running a parallel curriculum. All Post 16 courses are delivered at Louth, except for ICT which is delivered on both sites. In terms of buildings and site capacity, Louth has space for 1160 students and Mablethorpe has space for 425 students. Mablethorpe site has fewer specialist curriculum facilities than the Louth site and does not have a sports hall.
At the time of the merger, pupil numbers at Mablethorpe were predicted to increase, however, three years on, largely due to changes in parental preference and the availability of places in neighbouring schools, this increase has not materialised and there are currently 166 pupils at Mablethorpe. Across the whole school there are 531 students (11–16) and 88 Post 16 students. There are currently 365 students (11-16) at Louth. These pupil numbers are less than those projected for the school in January 2015 (see table below). The reduction in pupil numbers impacts directly upon school finance and the school budget. It also affects how the curriculum is organised and delivered to pupils, which in turn has a direct impact upon education provision and standards.
Capacity: 1585 places overall : Louth – 1160 Mablethorpe – 425
Projections based on the January 2015 census:
Below is a table showing the numbers of pupils attending each site by year group as at January 2015:
Overall the school is 50% full, which is reflected at both sites (Mablethorpe is 54% full and Louth is 48% full)
Currently, secondary age children who live in Mablethorpe attend the following schools (due to rounding these percentages do not total 100%):
- MDTC 40%
- Alford John Spendluffe 32%
- Birkbeck College 9%
- Cordeaux Academy 2% (Louth)
- King Edward V1 Grammar School 1% (Louth)
- Alford Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School 15%
In summary, the majority of parents of secondary age children (59%) choose to send their children to schools outside Mablethorpe. This breaks down into 43% attending non selective schools outside the town and a further 16% attending selective schools. More parents are choosing a non-selective option outside the town, than opting for MDTC in Mablethorpe. This is a parental preference trend that is historic in the area and is not a result of MDTC being rated Requiring Improvement by Ofsted at the most recent inspection.
Since the merger of the two schools, school organisation and curriculum delivery at MDTC has focussed upon enabling pupils to access their secondary education locally by reducing the need for pupils to travel therefore preserving equality of entitlement to all pupils, irrespective of where they live.
To achieve this it has been necessary for staffing levels to be higher than usual to reflect the replication of classes of the same year group at each site. It has also been necessary for staff to regularly travel between sites. Whilst these arrangements are costly, they have preserved secondary provision in Mablethorpe for the last two years, despite reducing numbers of pupils. However, the new performance measures (Progress 8 and Attainment 8, being introduced in 2016 across all schools) will make it increasingly difficult for an adequate curriculum offer, delivered by specialist teachers, to be maintained and remain financially viable.
Because the funding mechanism for schools is based upon the number of pupils attending school, the reduction in pupils at both sites has had a direct effect on the school budget, which was predicted to have a significant deficit (£1.8m) before steps were considered by the school to reduce costs.
Delivering a parallel curriculum across two sites has considerable logistical and financial challenges. It negates economies of scale in terms of group size, requires an increased staffing structure (management team and within subject areas) to support curriculum delivery, increases staff travel costs and time in transit (less break time), and adds to the complexities of school organisation when the sites are such a significant distance apart with a relatively poor road network. Unoccupied school places reduces the overall need for space, but it can be difficult to identify areas to close down while continuing to deliver a full range curriculum, therefore running costs remain much the same. A parallel curriculum protects pupils aged 11 to 16 from experiencing an extended school day and considerable travel – and it retains education provision in the heart of local communities. It has however, proven to be costly and unsustainable, made worse by falling rolls. The school can no longer afford to deliver education in this way and continue to provide the quality of education and breadth of curriculum that the pupils are entitled to.
In March 2014, the school was inspected and overall effectiveness was graded as 3 with the new descriptor “Requires Improvement”. A monitoring visit was carried out by Ofsted in July 2014. Examination results for the last two years have been below DfE floor targets. At the direction of the DfE and in response to the need to raise academic standards, MDTC is in the process of becoming a sponsored academy. In the summer examinations of 2014, Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College experienced particular difficulties with GCSE English. This led to the percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs at grade A*-C including English and maths falling below the DfE’s Floor Standard (currently set at 40% regardless of the ability of the cohort). The DfE subsequently notified the school and the LA that Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College was required to academise with a strong and approved ‘academy sponsor’. Approval has been given by the Minister to the sponsor being Louth King Edward VI Grammar School (KEVIGS), which is also in the process of becoming an academy, an ‘approved sponsor’ and setting up a multi academy trust (MAT). The DfE are aware of Governors’ decision to close the site, and subsequently, have agreed to defer the academisation of the school to allow for the statutory process around site closure to be undertaken and options for Mablethorpe to be considered.
The Governors’ have had concerns about maintaining the quality of education and equality of provision across the two sites, given the reducing pupil numbers, the strain on staff resources, maintaining curriculum breadth and continuing to meet the learning needs of all students. This concern is accentuated by the school now being rated as Requires Improvement by Ofsted, though it is hoped that with the support of KEVIGS,(the proposed academy sponsor) there will be a rapid improvement in standards. This cannot be achieved without reviewing curriculum planning and delivery and consideration of staffing levels – all of which are currently changing in the light of essential budget reductions. Staffing reductions have been made in accordance with the latest restructure, with a total of 13.2 teaching posts and 19 administrative and support posts having been removed. Delivering the curriculum on one site and ensuring cost effective group sizes is a key part of the budget reduction strategy and it would be possible for all the pupils from the Mablethorpe site to transfer to the Louth site without any physical alterations to the school building, as it has the capacity for 1160 pupils.
At a special meeting on 26.10.15, Governors received a report on the current school budget. This showed that between April 1 and 31.8 2015, there was an overall budget deficit of £242,500. This figure excludes redundancy costs as a result of the recent restructure, which are running at £352,000. Over the last 5 months the actual in year deficit equals around £100,000 per month across the whole school. It is a legal responsibility for governors to set a realistic and affordable budget. Governors’ reluctantly were left with no choice but to formally propose to close Mablethorpe site.
The Objectives for proposing closure of Mablethorpe site
The Statutory Notice has been published to propose the closure of the Mablethorpe site and consolidate the school onto a single site at Louth for the following reasons:
- To enable the school to be supported by a balanced budget which can adequately fund and provide sufficient resources for teaching and learning, support all students’ learning needs, ensures that the curriculum meets new government requirements and provides entitlement and equality of opportunity to current and future students.
- To support school improvement and enable students to achieve better in order to improve their life chances and secure better opportunities for their future.
- To improve the quality of the offer that the school can make to students, parents and the communities it serves, in order that it will become a school of choice and increase the number of pupils who choose to attend, thereby securing its future sustainability.
Impact on Students
If the closure goes ahead all current students at the Mablethorpe site, and those holding a school place for Mablethorpe site, will retain their place at the school and transfer their location to the Louth site, which is 15 miles from Mablethorpe. There will be a programme of transition arrangements put in place to support students and ease the relocation to the Louth site to minimise disruption and overcome any anxieties that may be caused by the closure.
Transport will be provided to the Louth site for pupils on roll at MDTC at the Mablethorpe site at the point of closure, and for younger siblings of those on roll that will require a place at MDTC in the future.
The County Council home-to-school transport policy will continue to apply – this provides free home-to-school transport for pupils to their nearest or designated school (if it is more than 3 miles away for secondary aged pupils).
In addition, arrangements will be made to allow students living in the Mablethorpe Designated Transport Area whose parents decide to seek a transfer to an alternative school closer to where they live, to have free transport provided to Alford John Spendluffe and Somercotes Academy (formerly Birkbeck School and Community Arts College) if a place is offered.
Impact on Staff
There will be a need for a further review of staffing across the whole school, once the curriculum planning and school organisation structure have been agreed, and the numbers of pupils confirmed.
Impact on the community
The community of Mablethorpe would lose secondary provision located in the town. The nearest secondary schools are Alford John Spendluffe Technology College – 8.1 miles from the Mablethorpe site and approximately 17 minutes by car; and Somercotes Academy (formerly Birkbeck School and Community Arts College) 11.2 miles from Mablethorpe site and approximately 21 minutes by car.
It is proposed to include Mablethorpe within the Designated Transport Area for both these schools and the County Council’s home-to-school transport policy will apply. Somercotes Academy provides free buses for pupils from several localities, including Mablethorpe and the journey time is 30 minutes.
Parental choice supports the majority of students living within the Mablethorpe community attending schools outside the Town. Although secondary provision will no longer be offered within Mablethorpe Town, it is the belief of Governors that the closure of the school site will result in improved provision and education opportunity for young people in Mablethorpe Town, leading to greater opportunities and better life chances for them and their families in turn.
Alternative uses will be considered for the school buildings and site – particularly should there be alternative viable proposals for educational use.
Special educational needs (SEN) provision
All the existing provision and support for special educational needs will transfer from the Mablethorpe site to the Louth site and there will be no discontinuity for students.
For existing Mablethorpe students and those holding a school place, there will be additional travel for those who wish to continue their education at MDTC, as the Louth site is around 15 miles from the Mablethorpe site. Transport would be provided to the Louth site for those students at the point of closure, and for younger siblings of those on roll that will require a place at MDTC in the future.
The County Council home-to-school transport policy will continue to apply – this provides free home-to-school transport for pupils to their nearest or designated school (if it is more than 3 miles away for secondary aged pupils). In addition, arrangements will be made to allow students living in the Mablethorpe Designated Transport Area whose parents decide to seek a transfer to an alternative school closer to where they live, to have free transport provided to Alford John Spendluffe and Somercotes Academy (formerly Birkbeck School and Community Arts College).
It should be noted that currently 60% of students living in the Mablethorpe area choose to travel out of the Town to receive their secondary education – a factor which has contributed to the situation of reducing pupil numbers at MDTC.
Consultation – process
In order for Governors to close the Mablethorpe site and consolidate provision at Louth as a single site school, there are statutory processes that must be followed, in keeping with Section 19 (3) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, under Prescribed Alteration Regulation 4 (3).
Under these guidelines the Governors must ensure that sufficient time and information are provided for people to understand and form a view on the proposals and make a response. The DfE guidance no longer prescribes a consultation period for proposed site closures, although this is a strong recommendation. Duly, the Governors have conducted a period of pre-publication consultation which ran from September 2 to October 7, 2015, during which several events and processes engaging with parents, staff, students, governors, other local schools and academies, local authorities and the local community took place:
- Briefing staff on both sites by way of staff meetings held on 3rd and 4th September, meeting with teaching unions and HR representatives on 2nd September, followed by opportunities within school to discuss and share questions, views, comments and opinions.
- Writing to all parents of MDTC pupils informing them of the proposals and explaining the context and background
- Briefing pupils, arranging “student voice” sessions and encouraging students to engage and participate in the consultation process
- Producing and distributing 2000 leaflets, with tear off response sheets, in key public places in both Mablethorpe and Louth, to provide information about the Governors’ proposal with background information and reasons
- Writing to interested parties, including all local authorities and relevant departments ie Lincolnshire County Council, the Children’s Services Department, CfBT; all local district and Town and Parish Councils; all local county councillors and district councillors; local MPs and Euro MPs; all relevant trades unions; all local schools and academies and academy trusts, including both primary and secondary schools; all before and after school clubs and premises users; all local dioceses; neighbouring Las, the EFA, and local libraries.
- Arranging meetings where parents of pupils at both sites received a presentation from senior school leaders and governors, as well as receive information about admissions, school transport, ask questions and share views. Representatives from the local authority were also present to provide information. These events took place on the following dates:
September 3rd – Parents Meeting – Mablethorpe
September 4th – Parents Meeting – Louth
- Arranging public open evenings where governors and senior school leaders were present with representatives of the LA, to provide information, engage in dialogue and receive comments, views and ideas from the local community. In considering the most effective way of facilitating the engagement with members of the local community and enabling dialogue directly with governors/senior school leaders in order to be able to access and engage with as broad a range of views as possible, it was decided that an open evening which allowed one-to-one discussion would be most effective. This was also intended to avoid the situation which occurred at the public meeting in August where a considerable number of people were unable to ask their questions due to time constraints in the meeting. Consequently, five teams of governors/senior leaders were available for discussion, alongside several LA representatives, which allowed a greater number of engagements and gave the public direct access to those who were responsible for making the proposal. These events took place on the following dates:
September 16th – Mablethorpe
September 17th – Louth
All events at both sites were carried out using the same format and structure to ensure that there was consistency and equality of opportunity for consultation, questions, sharing views and information provision.
After the end of the public open evening at Mablethorpe, the Chair of Governors and Head of School (Mablethorpe) met with representatives of the Steering Group Save Our School – Save Our Town/Tennyson Lives by request. Representatives of the LA were also present. The Steering Group shared some of their thinking and concerns, including the possible development of a further option to retain provision in Mablethorpe.
Senior leaders contacted the top ten (transition numbers) Mablethorpe partner primary schools to check that all the consultation material had been received and distributed to families – particularly those within Year 6.
Consultation – Responses
At a special governors’ meeting on October 26 2015 governors received a report on the consultation.
There were several response mechanisms used to collect, evaluate and collate responses to the governors’ proposal, and every effort has been made to facilitate responses from all quarters – but particularly from parents, staff, and pupils of MDTC.
Responses were made through letters; completion of response sheets; writing comments via a form on the school website; making comments at consultation events; engaging in specific sessions run by the school – particularly for staff and pupils.
There were concerns expressed by some attendees at the Mablethorpe public open evening that there was no arrangement for a public meeting where comments could be made to a whole audience.
There were also comments received by governors individually, that it was more comfortable to ask questions and share comments on a one to one basis, rather than at a large public meeting where it could be difficult to be heard and where people could be overwhelmed by the prospect of making their views known to a large gathering.
Attendance at the consultation meetings was as follows:
- Staff Meeting – Mablethorpe – 45
- Staff Meeting – Louth – 34
- Parents Meeting – Mablethorpe – 51
- Parents Meeting – Louth – 11
- Public Open Evening – Mablethorpe – 78
- Public Open Evening – Louth – 5
All written consultation comments and responses received have been collected and collated on a spreadsheet which is attached (Appendix A). Here is a numerical summary by interest area and type of respondent.
|Specific issues||Student (M)||Student (L)||Staff (M)||Staff (L)||Parent (M)||Parent (L)||Public (M)||Public (L)||Gover-nor||Total|
|Publicity and Primary Liaison||5||1||9||1||8||0||0||0||0||24|
|Effect on Community of Mablethorpe||29||1||16||1||9||0||27||0||0||83|
|Close Louth Campus||8||0||3||1||5||0||3||0||0||20|
|Effect of 2012 merger||6||11||19||1||13||0||5||1||0||56|
|Future Options and request for
12 month delay
|Miscellaneous Issues (one-off comments)||30||31||73||3||40||0||48||0||0||225|
- The table includes all written responses received either by email, return of leaflets or letters received up to and including the closing date of the pre consultation period i.e. 7th October 2015.
- Leaflets that were returned containing a proposal choice ticked but no comments are not included above.
- Any correspondence received after the closing date will be tabulated separately for Governors’ information.
Letters were responded to directly, where the sender provided a return address.
Consultation questions were published on the school website, with responses
Leaflet response sheets have been counted. 2000 leaflets were distributed. Responses were received at both sites and are as follows:
Leaflets received from Louth Campus
Supporting the Governors proposal
Not supporting the Governors proposal
|Leaflets received from the Mablethorpe Campus|
Supporting the Governors proposal
Not supporting the Governors proposal
|Leaflets received from public|
Not supporting the Governors proposal
|Leaflets received from staff|
Not supporting the Governors proposal
Student Voice and Staff interviews took place with an independent consultant and involved the following across both sites:
RECORD OF STUDENT and STAFF VOICE INTERVIEW NUMBERS
|Interviews||Written submission||Interviews||Written submission|
|Staff||3 individual (3 teachers; 2 team leaders).||0||3 in group (2 teachers; one support staff).
5 individual (4 teachers and team leaders; one support staff)
A copy of the full report on the Student Voice and Staff consultation was made available to governors at the meeting.
At the Year 6 Open Evenings held on each campus an independent consultant was available to capture any parent voice matters. Approximately 200 people turned up for the Louth Campus Open Evening and 55 for the Mablethorpe Campus Open Evening. Only one Mablethorpe parent engaged for discussions about the proposed Mablethorpe Campus closure.
Consultation Responses – Key Themes
There was a difference in the indication of views and comments collected at both sites. Attendance at meetings was higher at Mablethorpe site than at Louth.
There were more indications of support for the proposal collected from Louth site.
There were more indications against the proposal collected from Mablethorpe site. Overall, there were more negative comments collected from Mablethorpe site.
There were very few positive comments collected about the proposal, although there were a substantial number of indications of support.
The majority of comments received were negative towards the proposal to close the Mablethorpe site.
There have been formal responses from the Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea Town Council, and Victoria Atkins MP, as well as from the local Steering Group Save Our School – Save OurTown/Tennyson Lives
Summary and Indication of Responses – below is a general summary of comments and key concerns and views that have emerged from the consultation. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of questions and comments raised– it does, however give a flavour of responses that helped to inform governors.
(in no particular order or priority).
- frequency of buses
- who gets free transport
- too far for Y7 student
- how do students access sports and after school clubs?
- negative impact upon students’ lifestyles
- too tired to do homework
- what if students can’t travel (travel sickness or special needs)
- more opportunity for pupils to truant
- what about bad weather?
- will it be safe for pupils?
- vulnerable pupils won’t be able to travel
- too far
- what if children are ill/have medical appointments
- how do parents without cars manage to attend parents’ evenings or access the school like local Louth parents?
- the school day is too long
- students’ progress and attainment will be negatively affected
- students will not continue to go to MDTC because of distance
FINANCE and PUPIL NUMBERS
- concern that the figures re budget are not transparent/are untrue
- what caused the budget deficit?
- Mablethorpe supporting Louth financially
- concern that the numbers have changed (budget figures and pupil numbers)
- higher percentage of pupils attend Louth than Mablethorpe
- Year 6 won’t choose to come to MDTC (Mablethorpe) because of uncertainty so numbers will get lower
- what was the financial position of both schools at the point of merger?
- why can’t each school have its own budget and de-merge?
- Is there room at Louth for all the Mablethorpe students?
- why did governors wait so long to share their decision to propose closure?
- why weren’t staff, parents and pupils warned before the end of the summer term?
- why did they have to get information from the media?
- very bad timing for Year 6 who are making choices
- If staff had known earlier then they and the governors could have taken action before now
- Year 6 parents don’t have enough information about what’s happening
- what about communication and liaison with primary schools to help encourage pupil numbers at Mablethorpe?
- what about marketing the school so that more people are aware of how good it is?
- problems in getting information about the consultation
- Mablethorpe deserves a secondary school so that pupils can walk to school
- if the school closes, the Town will be downgraded to the status of a village
- Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea Town Council have registered their opposition to the proposal to close Mablethorpe site
- without its own secondary school the local economy in Mablethorpe will be negatively affected
- without its own secondary school people will not want to buy a house in Mablethorpe
- new housing will bring more pupils
- Louth always wins over Mablethorpe
- Mablethorpe is already deprived and losing the school will make it worse
- There are 3 secondary schools in Louth – why can’t one of them close?
- there will be problems getting children to school – especially where there are primary and secondary aged pupils
- families can’t afford the bus fares
- children will attend school at Mablethorpe but not Louth
- more families will want to educate children at home
- Mablethorpe pupils are not welcomed at Louth
- Mablethorpe pupils are bullied at Louth
- Students are concerned about being split up from their friends
- Students feel safe at Mablethorpe
- Louth students are concerned about larger class sizes
- Mablethorpe pupils value the smaller setting with small classes and family atmosphere
- why not close Louth instead?
- Mablethorpe students value having made friends and like their teachers and don’t want that to change
- Mablethorpe students worry about changing schools and feel that they won’t get the same support
- there is more support for students with special educational needs at Mablethorpe
- what will be the effect on education and lives of students?
- what will be the effect on GCSE students (Louth and Mablethorpe)
- there is poor behaviour at Louth
- concerns about all Post 16 being located at Louth
- impact of travel on pupils
- loss of family feel of Mablethorpe site
- concern about students with special needs
- concern about drop in attendance
- impact on Y7s and Y10s doing GCSEs
- the process should be halted to allow more research
- there will be challenges in bringing two sets of pupils together
- pupil numbers are reducing at both sites, not just Mablethorpe
- need to make Mablethorpe viable and boost pupil numbers
- need to talk up positives of MDTC
- concern about the portrayal of education standards at MDTC
- Mablethorpe site is not used enough out of hours
- There hasn’t been enough liaison with primary schools
- Parents won’t send their children to MDTC if exam results are poor
- what is the availability of places at other schools?
- the decision is already made and consultation is a sham
- what will happen to the site and buildings if Mablethorpe closes?
- who decides on the closure?
- we need more time to improve the reputation of the school
- Mablethorpe site has better behaviour and better attendance figures
Ideas and Suggestions
The following ideas and suggestions were made during the consultation period:
- What about proposing a free school?
- Can Mablethorpe be a separate academy?
- What about becoming an all age school?
- What about focussing on providing vocational subjects?
- Why don’t Louth schools merge and MDTC close Louth site, sell it and expand Mablethorpe
- Add adult education provision to Mablethorpe
Governors’ decision to publish a statutory notice to close Mablethorpe site
Governors carefully considered all the consultation responses – paying particular attention to the responses made by those most directly affected by the proposal, as stated in the DfE guidance. They also weighed up the school’s current and projected financial position, and the impact upon education provision and standards, and the entitlement to current and future students. They concluded that:
- the cost saving of closing Mablethorpe site and consolidating provision at Louth secures a balanced and legal budget and that the proposed implementation date of 31.8.16 ensures that savings can be made within the timeframe required for setting the budget and becoming an academy, as directed by the DfE
- that there is a place available for every MDTC pupil and those who hold a place, at the Louth site
- that the Louth site is sustainable, given that it is unclear how many students will transfer to Louth from Mablethorpe
- that there would be a curriculum and staffing structure which could be in place for September 2016 , which is affordable, sufficient to meet the needs of all pupils across the school, and can meet the new requirements in pupil progress and attainment (Progress 8 and Attainment 8) which comes into force in 2016
- that consolidating provision at the Louth site and closing Mablethorpe site is in the best interests of current and future students
The Governors have taken the decision to proceed to Statutory Notice, therefore initiating a 4 week Representation Period. This will be an opportunity for the ideas and suggestions to be further explored and also be a further opportunity for people and organisations to express their views and ensure that they are taken into account when the final decision is taken by the Local Authority in January 2016. It is essential, however, that in the event that there are no viable alternatives that can address the issues of reduced pupil numbers and the inevitable financial impact this has on provision and subsequently upon educational standards, that there should be no undue delay in the closure process in order to avoid, as far as possible, further negative impact upon the pupils, their families and the local community.
Under the current legislation the LA is the final decision maker for the proposal, whilst the governors are co-ordinating the statutory process before the LA makes the final decision. The LA as decision maker, must be able to show that all relevant issues raised are taken into consideration in the decision making process. Points raised can be considered unpersuasive but must not be ignored.
Objections and Comments
Any person or organisation may object to or make comments on the proposal by sending them to the Chair of Governors, MDTC, Seaholme Road, Mablethorpe, LN12 2DF to be received by the deadline of 2 December 2015.
At the close of the 4 week representation period (statutory formal consultation) on 2 December 2015, responses will be sent to Lincolnshire County Council where they will be collated and analysed and a further report will be presented to the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee for comment and recommendation, before going to the Executive Councillor for a final decision on the closure of the Mablethorpe site and consolidation of provision for MDTC at the Louth site as a single site school. The decision is likely to be taken at the end of January 2016 but must be no later than two months after the end of the Representation period.
The Representation period is the final opportunity for people and organisations to express their views about the proposal and ensure that they will be taken into account by the decision maker.
END OF STATUTORY NOTICE
Proposed closure of the Mablethorpe Campus of Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College
At a special meeting on 26th October, the Governors of Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College agreed to proceed to the formal consultation stage regarding the proposed closure of the Mablethorpe campus. During the first informal consultation stage of the process, the Governors consulted widely with pupils, parents, staff and the local community and received a large number of responses which were considered very carefully at the special meeting. However, against a background of falling pupil numbers, stringent financial constraint and above all, the need to provide pupils with a high quality education, closure was the only option available to Governors. They voted 7 to 1 in favour of the proposal to close.
Rachel Tickhill, Chair of Governors, said: “It was a difficult and emotional meeting and Governors were very sad to reach what was, after careful consideration, an inevitable conclusion. We live in an educational environment that is tightly controlled by central government and in these circumstances we had no realistic alternatives. The next stage in the process is a period of formal consultation before a final decision about closure of the campus is made by the County Council. During this stage there is another opportunity for people to send in their comments about the proposed closure. We will of course look in detail at all further feedback before the final decision is reached.”
Pre-publication consultation on the Governors’ proposal
to close the Mablethorpe site from September 2016
Background to the proposed closure of the MDTC Mablethorpe Site
On December 18, 2014, the Governing Body of Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College (MDTC) reluctantly took the decision by a majority vote of 7 – 2, to propose closing the MDTC Mablethorpe site in response to reducing pupil numbers leading to reduced funding and affecting the ability of the school to provide a good education to pupils. MDTC was facing a predicted budget deficit of £1.4m, this deficit was set to rise to £3.4m if radical action by the Governing Body wasn’t taken. Reviewing the curriculum and the staffing structure has already had a positive effect on finances, but, there is more action needed. Therefore, Governors saw no option other than to propose to move to one campus by closing the MDTC Mablethorpe site.
- The cost of running two sites exceeds the school budget.
- The school is running at half full with 554 pupils at Louth and 231 pupils at Mablethorpe and there are only 64 out of 200 places on offer for September 2015 with only 29 at Mablethorpe.
(School funding is based on a fixed allocation of funding (block grant) set by DfE and more pupils means more funding, less pupils means less funding).
- Only 40% of 11-16 pupils living in Mablethorpe choose to attend MDTC.
- The Louth site has sufficient space to take all current pupils and the number expected for the next 10 years (county council forecast).
- Small year groups at the Mablethorpe site is affecting pupils’ teaching and learning as there can only be mixed ability groups which makes it difficult to cater for all learning needs.
- Teachers are not as accessible to pupils outside class time because they are not necessarily based at the same site, or are travelling between sites.
- Governors have the power to make proposals around the organisation of the school, including the closure of one of the sites. Any significant change means the school is legally bound to follow DfE statutory processes, arranging proper consultation as outlined by DfE with parents/carers, pupils, staff and the wider community.
Consultation process and timeline
There are two phases of consultation and opportunities for people to express views; pre-publication and formal. Governors have started the pre-publication phase with parents and staff.
Consultation runs from 2/9/15 to 7/10/15. In addition, public consultation open evenings have been set for the wider community in September. Open evenings will take place in Mablethorpe on Wednesday 16 September and Louth on Thursday 17 September, between 6pm and 8pm in the school halls. They take the form of “drop in” sessions to enable one-to-one discussions with governors, members of school senior leadership and local authority representatives.
After 7th October, governors will meet again to carefully consider the views expressed and make a decision as to whether to continue with the formal process of proposing closure of the site. If this decision is taken, the next step is to publish a Statutory Notice and statement which will be placed on the school website, in key public places and in the local press. People then have four weeks to formally submit comments and views, which are collected by the governors and sent to Lincolnshire County Council whose role is to act as decision maker.
Governors are interested to hear all comments and views about their proposal – and any ideas that could assist the school in dealing with the difficult issues which have led to this situation.
The county council have up to two months to evaluate responses and consider the proposal. In line with the DfE statutory process they will then make a decision which is published.
The consultation process includes a four week period in which appeals can be made to the Schools Adjudicator (central government) by the Church of England and the Roman Catholic dioceses, and the governors and trustees of the school.
If the timescales are maintained, a decision is expected around the end of January 2016 for potential implementation in September 2016. The county council want to ensure that the governors’ consultation process is carried out properly and that parents, pupils, staff, governors and the wider community are well informed and have the opportunity to express their views.
To support this, they will be attending the consultation meetings with parents and the open evenings to listen to views and to answer questions about admissions, transport and other concerns that parents in particular may have. Open evenings will also provide the opportunity for one to one discussion with governors in the form of a “drop in” between 6pm and 8pm. Make sure you don’t miss out on these public consultation open evenings.
Public Open Evening Schedule
Thursday 17th September – 6pm – 8pm
Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College:
Monks’ Dyke Road
Wednesday 16th September – 6pm – 8pm
If you are unable to attend the open evenings above and you would like to comment on the proposal by the governing body to close the Mablethorpe site of MDTC, you can use the Online Consultation Feedback Form or you can provide feedback in the following ways:
Print Consultation Leaflet
You can download and print a copy of the Consultation Leaflet. There is a tear off and return form on the leaflet. You can send it to or hand it into reception at either site. Alternatively, you can post it to one of the school addresses on the leaflet. View Leaflet
Please take a few minutes to fill in the Online Consultation Feedback Form. The feedback you provide will be invaluable in helping to better inform the Governing body. Your views matter!
Additional Information for Parents