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Save our Schools

Save Schools

Bob Russell MP and local Liberal Democrat campaigners have been fighting against Conservative-run Essex County Council's plans to close two schools in south Colchester.

96% of respondents to a public consultation told the County Council they opposed their plans, which would leave the whole of south Colchester without a Secondary School, and lead to massive expansion of Stanway, St. Helena & Philip Morant schools, when most evidence suggest children perform better went sent to smaller schools.

The Conservatives say they are doing it to improve the quality of education in Colchester. But both schools have made significant improvements in recent years, and moving pupils half way through their secondary school education is incredibly disruptive.

It has also been revealed that by 2015, the cost to the taxpayer of bussing children to schools away from their communities will be £400,000 a year, money which could have been spent improving standards in the existing schools.

save our schools

Bob has formally objected to the County Council's decision, and has met with Vernon Coaker MP, the Schools Minister to discuss it, after the Liberal Democrat Group on the County Council's objections were ignored by the ruling Conservatives. Colchester MP Bob Russell told the Schools Minister that while it was acknowledged there is currently spare capacity in the town's secondary school system, the rising birth-rate and huge new housing developments taking place would mean that this capacity would eventually be needed. Bob will continue to fight to save Alderman Blaxill and Thomas, Lord Audley Schools from closure

We will keep this site updated with developments.

Developments on Thomas Lord Audley and Alderman Blaxill

Colchester's school shakeup has been thrown into disarray following the scrapping of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. Despite this, Conservative run Essex County Council are still calling for the closure of Thomas Lord Audley (TLA) and Alderman Blaxill schools.

Bob Russell MP and local Liberal Democrats have long been campaigning to save these schools from closure. This is all the more important now that we know surrounding schools will not be receiving the funding needed to take up the extra pupils if these schools were shut.

The Liberal Democrats gave repeated warnings to Essex County Council that there was a strong possibility of the BSF programme being scrapped. These warnings fell on deaf ears, and we have now been left in the current mess.

We only hope that the Conservatives at County Council will finally see sense, and opt to keep these schools open. We encourage them to follow option 4 - a federation between TLA, Alderman Blaxill, and Stanway Schools.

Sir Charles Lucas Academy

The future of Sir Charles Lucas remains uncertain. The school will be opening as a new Academy at the start of the next academic year, but it is unclear if the planned developments will go ahead.

Bob has written to Education Secretary Michael Gove demanding that the developments are allowed to continue as planned.

Bob has argued that the current buildings are "well past their sell-by date, and need to be replaced for the school to function properly as an Academy." He adds that "this is what the people of Colchester have been promised."

We will let you know of developments.