What is wrong with education in Bath? Surely the decision to close Culverhay school is shortsighted
The council's argument is that since there are fewer children going to Bath's secondary schools one or more schools should be closed to save money. The reason why there is a decreasing demand for Bath schools is that of the total school population of eighteen thousand children, School Census parents of over seven thousand, have chosen to pay to have their children educated in independent schools. This does not mean that the State schools are bad, just that parents are prepared to pay for higher results.
The population is NOT decreasing, it remained stable between 1988 and 1998 but is now increasing at an estimated rate of 15 per cent. http://www.banes.nhs.uk/healthy/facts/Pages/default.aspx Whether, parents will be able to afford to continue to pay to have their children educated at an independent school in the future is debatable. We are, according to the Liberal Democrat Conservative coalition government, now in an economic period that is the worst since the end of the Second World War. It is probably much, much worse because we have used up North Sea oil and gas and closed nearly all our coal mines. We have even used up all our salt deposits!
If parents are unable to pay for independent education then there will be an increasing demand for state education. Far from a decline in state education the predicted rise in population coupled with an increasing proportion of parents who are unable to continue to pay for independent education for their children must lead to more demand for state education.
Bath is subject to high levels of pollution from traffic yet continues to build shopping facilities that attract more and more shoppers and their cars on to its roads. Closing Culverhay school, or any school in Bath will result in even more traffic in the city when people are trying to get to work. So much for sustainability! Many children will not be able to enjoy the luxury of having their parents take them to school, they will have to either walk or use public transport. When a parent chooses to apply for admission to a school that is remote from their residence then that is their problem but otherwise children should be able to get to a local school easily, by walking preferably.
B&NES Education should have the capacity to provide secondary education whether the population is declining or increasing. If a school is closed, then inevitably, there will be overcrowding in the near future in other schools. Building new schools to solve the issues due to closing a perfectly good existing school or two is just a waste of money. Keeping, at present under subscribed schools open means that capacity is available for accommodating more pupils in future. The actual cost is negligible compared to building new schools.
Link to earlier article on Culverhay and secondary education provision in the city of Bath