MP to quiz minister over school controversy

MP Edward Leigh has called for urgent government talks about two secondary schools under-threat after a controversial funding cut.

The Rasen Mail last week revealed Caistor Grammar School and Caistor Yarborough Academy have been put on a list of about 20 small schools Lincolnshire County Council is worried about.

Both schools rely on a £390,000 local authority grant but funding changes mean in two years’ time they cannot get more than £200,000.

This raised questions of a merger, which Caistor grammar headteacher Roger Hale said would be “Armageddon”.

In a statement to the Rasen Mail, Mr Leigh said: “My support for what the government is hoping to achieve with its school reforms is a matter of public record. It is vital that school standards are forced up so that every child can benefit from the best possible start in life.

“However I fail to see how putting the school with the best results in Lincolnshire at risk of closure can possibly improve standards across the county.

“What’s more, closing both Caistor Yarborough Academy and Caistor Grammar School, and leaving the town with no schools, cannot be in the best interests of Caistor’s residents.

“Pupils travel from miles around to go to school in Caistor, and the distances travelled for the grammar school is especially great.

“In sparsely populated rural areas there is a limit to how big schools can be.

“I am today writing to Michael Gove, the education secretary, seeking urgent clarification on this matter.

“I hope that we will be able to save both schools from the threat of closure.

“I would be amazed by the way if a school which has been excelling for almost four centuries were closed.

“Reforms are aimed at under-performing schools.”