Nelson school to be closed down after facing 'significant challenges'

Hendon Brook Short Stay School is to close in August
Hendon Brook Short Stay School is to close in August

A Pendle school, which "faced significant challenges", is to be closed by Lancashire County Council.

Hendon Brook Short Stay School, a pupil referral unit in Walton Lane, Nelson, is expected to be closed from August 31st this year after county councillors decided the educational standard offered was lower than needed for the pupils that attended.

Hendon Brook was rated "inadequate" by Ofsted inspectors in April, 2017, and was placed into special measures as a result. However, a monitoring visit in January, 2019, that "leaders and managers (at the school) were not taking effective action towards the removal of special measures".

Lancashire County Council's Cabinet has now agreed to issue a public notice of its proposal to close Hendon Brook Short Stay School.

Speaking before last week's Cabinet meeting, Edwina Grant, the county council's executive director for education and children's services, said: "Despite considerable efforts to support the school, it has faced significant challenges.

"The educational standard offered is lower than we need for the pupils who attend. We've been working with the Regional Schools' Commissioner to try to find a sponsor to convert the school to an academy, but this has been unsuccessful."

Once the statutory notice has been published, there will be a four-week period during which representations can be made about the proposal.

If the proposal goes ahead the school would close with effect from August 31st this year.

County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: "I'd like to reassure everyone that all views we received during the consultation were considered very carefully, before the decision was taken to move to the next stage of the process.

"Our paramount concern is always to provide the best education we can for all young people and because of this we have no other option."

The consultation period and discussion with the local community ran from Monday September 9th until Friday October 18th.

A consultation event, attended by education officers from the county council, was also held to give parents, staff and other interested parties the chance to ask questions and express their views.

The final decision will be taken about the proposal in April.