THE fate of a Basingstoke secondary school will be decided by Hampshire County Council officers next week.
Executive member for education at the county council, Cllr Peter Edgar, will consider a recommendation from the director of children’s services on March 20 as to whether to amalgamate Fort Hill Community School with Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College (CBEC).
Since the news broke that the proposed merger of the two schools would lead to Fort Hill closing, many parents and councillors have criticised the county council for their “shortsighted views” on the situation.
During the public consultation period, which ran from January 19 to March 2, there has been views that council officers have not been transparent in meetings with parents.
The debate was even brought before Basingstoke and Deane Borough councillors at a scrutiny committee meeting held on March 9, where parent-of-two Andrew Hood was given the opportunity to present to councillors why they should support the “Save Fort Hill” campaign.
After the meeting a disappointed Mr Hood said: “I was disgusted by Cllr Paul Miller’s suggestion that it is I who should be ashamed. There is no conceivable scenario where a parent desperately trying to save his children’s local school should be considered as such.”
He added: “Every elected member present should be ashamed that they failed to come together in a bipartisan way to help resolve this issue and support their local schools. I will continue to do everything I can because I believe this is an issue worth fighting for.”
If Cllr Edgar agrees that an amalgamation is the best solution, the two schools would be amalgamated on the CBEC site.
The Fort Hill site would not be large enough to accommodate.
Cllr Edgar said: “I am fully aware that there are some very strong feelings locally about Fort Hill Community School, for which I have a deep respect.
“In carefully considering the recommended action to be taken, I will be taking account of the responses to the consultation, including the suggestions for alternative options and the analysis of those, alongside the facts about the school’s current status and future prospects.”
Should the decision be to progress with the amalgamation, a public notice would be published, in accordance with section 15 and 19 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, to discontinue Fort Hill and resourced provision with effect from 31 August, 2017.