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Merger plan revealed for Cumbrian senior schools

Workington's Stainburn and Southfield senior schools want to merge.

Have your say

As stated in the News and Star the National Union of Teachers (NUT) claims that staff, parents and children are being railroaded into the merger and have not been properly consulted over the plans. Why was this merger not mentioned at the open evening for up coming students on the 31 Jan less than a week before it was all announced to current students they must have known it all seems far to fast. Understandably the merger of the two schools would happen in the future with the drop in pupil numbers, but why close the Sixth Form Centre before the new building has been completed. So many seem to forget that Sixth formers are currently doing their A’ Levels ‘voluntarily’ to give them a better chance of gaining employment or enable them to progress to university so why disrupt their education by moving them prematurely to Southfield and then move them again once the new build is completed. Yes pupils doing GCSE’s need looked after but those doing A’Levels need it even more, now that there are no January exams the students will need as much support as possible to pass first time. Also universities can see how many times students take their A’Levels and can use this information on offering places. Is it not sensible to have absolute minimum disruption to Sixth Form education and help them gain their grades, in the long run if they obtain the grades that aids the schools reach their targets. If the schools are in the red which is also a large factor, why not close the Southfield site which is greatly underused but probably still costing a vast amount to run and carrying a much larger amount of staff to pupil ratio. Why not move all year 7-11 pupils and staff to Stainburn as it is a large capacity school as it stands and could easily accommodate portable classrooms like other local schools have to use and at least it would only be for a couple of years. As printed on the Department of Education website in Jan 2013 excluding 16-19 year old (Sixth Formers) the total number of pupils of Stainburn and Southfield is approximately 1100.

Posted by Concerned parent on 20 February 2013 at 22:13

Bright Tribe have no right to ruin the education of Workington pupils. Do people know that they have not run any schools yet and have no track record at all? In the last six months they have only managed to talk 2 schools into joining them. Stainburn and Southfield are the only ones to have fallen for their talk in the last six months. They have not asked staff or parents what they want. What happens when it all goes pear-shaped which it will? The people of Workington do not need this.It is wrong that governors who never set foot in the two schools could decide for this to go ahead.Why does this have to be rushed? I think it would be better to tell Bright Tribe to come back when they have actually set up a school and can show that they can make a success of a school. Why should the children of Workington be their guinea-pigs?

Posted by A member of staff on 20 February 2013 at 15:57

Of course the youth of Workington deserve the best facilities, but the real issue here is the SPEED of this merger. Bright Tribe insist that there will be a new build; they also insist that they are steadfastly committed to Workington. If these things are true, let them build the new school and THEN let the people of the area see what they are getting. Surely this would provide the smoothest tranfer possible. As it stands, several years of students will find themselves in limbo, as a protracted change-over takes place. Who knows, perhaps even those parents of Workington (and district)who have jumped on the bandwagon of having their kids educated outside the town (thus playing a part in causing this problem)might jump back on board and take advantage of the taxpayers' money!

Posted by Anon on 20 February 2013 at 09:55

As a parent of a child due to start Southfield in September, would like to know a couple of things.1 Why was none of this mentioned when we went to look around Southfield? 2 Why has there been no information given to parents about the proposals.So they want to send the new year sevens ( half of which have never been into the building} to be with other children who are going to resent them even being there. I for one am worried about the way my child will be treated,apart from the fact parents themselves have never been there or know the teaching staff. I think they need to get there act together and start communicating with the people who really matter, Mrs Dalkin not being available for comment says it all really!!!!!!!

Posted by anon on 19 February 2013 at 19:10


Posted by C on 11 February 2013 at 18:29

The staff of both schools are definitely not behind these plans. The main reason for this is that they know very little about them. It is true that we knew a merger was likely at some point in the future, but the joint meeting of governors were told of the accelerated plan at 6pm on Wednesday night. They were asked by Brighttribe to give them an answer by 9pm, which to me sounds more like high pressure double glazing sales technique. At no point to my knowledge have any of the governor's asked staff, parents or children about their opinion. And just in case anyone was under the impression that the money for the new school is linked to brighttribe, it's not.It's promised to Southfield and Stainburn, brighttribe just get to spend it for us. There is also a point that members of brighttribe are also heavily linked with the development of UTCs, surely a conflict of interest!

Posted by A Teacher on 11 February 2013 at 07:41

a terrible idea children will miss out on loads of things eg sport teams to many children to pick from some children would off made the team in there old school but now they won't because of's hard enough been a teenager these days with out adding more pressure......i just hope it all run smooth but some how i don't think so......

Posted by k on 10 February 2013 at 15:30

I think it's a good thing for the town. The staff at both schools know what they're doing. They surely have the children's interests at the top of all lists of priorities and will make it as smooth for them as possible? It's an opportunity for our children in our town to be given the best education for free as possible. New possibilities will come with a new school. It could also be a chance for local traders to work on an innovative build for Workington. Change should be embraced! I've also seen this happen before and it's likely that transport will be provided to reduce disruption, and the technology in these new schools/academies is always outstanding- new laptops/ipads for most pupils etc. I'm excited for my children to have this chance in their educational lives. Well done both schools and Bright Tribe! Just what Workington needs.

Posted by Sally on 9 February 2013 at 13:23

Your article says THE SCHOOLS WANT TO COMBINE. Who has been asked about this? The staff? NO. The parents? NO.The students? NO. As far as I know NONE of the people who matter have been asked about their choice. EVERY CHILD MATTERS......remember the lets think again before any rash decisions are made about the education of our youth.

Posted by concerned on 9 February 2013 at 10:53

I am not happy one bit about this as my son is due o start Southfield September nothing of this was said at school open nights I think it stupid think of all the traffic again down there amount of more pupils my son has had his heart set on oing there as lives local and for him to go stainburn is far to much for him o walk down there that time of morning and in the weather conditions it's just asking for trouble I'm not having my son walk down there especially with these weirdos going round trying o nab kids I'm not allowing my son to do it and I will sign every thing o stop this from happening as Facebook have ot there own page set up about this and the disgust of parents

Posted by Naomi on 8 February 2013 at 19:22

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