SECRETARY of State for Education Kenneth Baker has sided with Lincolnshire education authorities against the local bishop and has closed Britain's smallest Catholic secondary school. The decision means that 78 pupils at Blessed Hugh More Secondary School, Grantham, will have to find alternative places in September.
For the past few years, the local education authority has tried to axe the school due to falling rolls, a move that prompted a parental vote in favour of "opting out" of local authority control. The school's trustee Bishop James McGuinness of Nottingham gave full backing to the plan on the grounds that the closure would result in there being no Catholic secondary education available
for 25 miles (Catholic Herald April 21).
"There is no appeal against the Secretary of State's decision and I'm afraid that this is the end of the road," said the head teacher at the school, Ms Mary Lewis, who plans to retire. "This is a rotten way to end my career."
Some 20 children from Blessed Hugh More School will now have to travel 25 miles to St Peter and St Paul's School in Lincoln, and school authorities are negotiating with the local education authority on transport arrangements. "To be fair to the authority, they have expressed their willingness to make extra resources available to help pupils to resettle in other schools," said Ms Lewis.