Probe into St Neots schools decision

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council s decision to form a federation between St Neots s two secondary school will come under the microscope next week. The Liberal Democrat opposition accuses the controlling Conservative group on the council of loading last yea

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council's decision to form a 'federation' between St Neots's two secondary school will come under the microscope next week.

The Liberal Democrat opposition accuses the controlling Conservative group on the council of loading last year's consultation on the future of secondary education in the town, particularly in the light of St Neots Community College's having been put into 'special measures' last April by the Office for Standards in Education.

The Liberal Democrat call-in will be considered by a special meeting of the children's and young people's scrutiny committee to be held next Thursday (February 18) at Shire Hall, in Cambridge.

The call-in alleges that the cabinet made the decision without having received evidence of a thorough investigation of the options, in particular that it had no detailed understanding of how a federation might improve pupils' outcomes at the community college, that the cabinet did not know how this could be achieved without reducing performance at Longsands, and that it had not thoroughly investigated the option of National Challenge Trust status for St Neots Community College


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It also claims that the consultation process was loaded from the outset to support the council's preference for federation, and that the strength of feeling against the federation had not been given due consideration.

Martin Land, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Huntingdon and a St Neots parent, said: "We do not yet feel confident that the right decision has been made. We will of course give our full backing to the final outcome and support both schools.

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"An urgent reconsideration is necessary to reassure the parents at both schools that the situation will get better for all, not worse.

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