It was with disappointment that I heard the sadly expected news that the Bath Studio School faces closure. As people may know, this is yet another closure of a secondary school in Odd Down, forcing many local children to travel miles across the city just to get to school even though there are perfectly good school buildings where they live.
I have been impressed by the level of interest the school has shown both to the development of its children and to the wider Odd Down community. It has been a pleasure to have been interviewed by the children a number of times and to have faced some really good questions in the many hustings they have run. Few schools have shown such consistent interest in engaging their children with the world.
Unfortunately there is little or nothing the council can do about the closure. It’s interesting to see our MP and so many local councillors, especially from the Lib Dems, make a fuss. The three largest parties have spent years removing responsibility for our schools from councils and handing it to ‘academy chains’ and ‘free schools’, with no democratic control and bosses who syphon-off funds to award themselves huge pay packets. This is the result - the people have no voice when schools close. Complaints from the three big parties when these closures happen are either dishonest public displays or show that they are ignorant of the effect of their own policies.
The law makes it difficult and no other party wants to do it, but it is still actually possible to start LEA (council run) schools. I will work with my Green Party colleagues to do this on the BCA site and, if the studio school site ceases to be used as a school, reopen it as an LEA school. I’m interested in hearing from residents who would like to support this campaign.
In the meantime I will do what I can to keep it open. Yesterday I wrote to Damien Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, to ask him to intervene and stop the school closing. If fellow Odd Down residents or other concerned people in Bath would like to add anything to my further letters to him on this then please let me know.
Dominic Tristram Green Party PPC for Bath and Odd Down campaigner