In the last hour a letter has been released by the Bright Tribe Trust, the multi academy trust who run The Whitehaven Academy, one of West Cumbrias largest schools. The letter is released after plans last week where announced to build a £33 Million complex which will house St Benedicts School as well as Mayfield.
From the beggining of the plans The Whitehaven Academy formerly Whitehaven School was included in the plans but have since been excluded. In the letter Gary Kelly, Bright Tribes Director of Schools and Philip Grant the Principal of The Whitehaven Academy said "Further to the discussions around a potential ‘Campus Whitehaven’ project which you will no doubt have seen reported in the local press over the past months, an announcement about the project has now been made in the media last week. This details the plans for a joint new build project for Mayfield and St Benedict’s Schools."
"We have not had formal notification of this announcement and Whitehaven Academy’s apparent exclusion from the ‘Whitehaven Campus’ plans from the funders of the project - Cumbria County Council, Copeland Community Foundation, Britain’s Energy Coast and Nuclear Partners - so this came as a surprise to Bright Tribe Trust and the academy."
"We committed to keep parents, carers and students informed as discussions progressed and felt that whilst we pursue clarity on this matter it was important to share our views, some facts and our extreme disappointment that we appear to have been excluded from this project for reasons which are currently unclear and appear to ignore a significant proportion of our community who are in greater need of this investment."
"The academy and the Trust have made it clear at every stage that we are fully engaged and committed to this project for the benefit of our students and the Whitehaven community. It is particularly disappointing that, as the school in Whitehaven with the most pressing requirements for improvements to facilities and buildings, we have not been included in these plans when we were of the view that the £33m funding available was significant enough to ensure all parties in the discussions could benefit fairly from this community fund."
"Since becoming an academy we have made rapid progress on our school improvement journey. We have new school leadership, an excellent existing staff team and new teaching and support staff who will be joining us in September, as well as fantastic students. What we lack is significant investment in school premises which we have been pursuing as part of this project and through separate central government funding. We have also been clear to all parties that any funds secured by the academy would have been committed to the development of the campus project."
"Nonetheless we are striving to provide education of exceptional quality for our young people, and we have been, and continue to be, proactive in making improvements to the academy, both in terms of facilities and educational offer. From September we will be extending and improving our educational offer at the academy by launching The Whitehaven Academy Learning and Skills Campus. Our campus will comprise of the 11 to 16 academy, the Post-16 Centre - offering a wide range of provision to meet our students’ aspirations and needs - and our community based adult education offer."
"In terms of facilities and infrastructure, since the school converted we have already invested over £1m in improvements, including: playing field drainage works, heating and ventilation improvements, fire safety improvements, DDA access improvements, roof works, Post-16 Centre refurbishment, first phase wireless coverage, general IT network improvements and general external refurbishments. There is a proactive on-going programme of improvements supported by the Academy Trust."
"We will continue to be proactive about school improvement and providing an innovative educational offer, suitable for the local area and preparing young people for their next steps, whether that be higher education, employment or apprenticeship. We will be meeting with the Local Authority and the Regional Schools Commissioner in early September to discuss all of this and we will update you on the position following that meeting."
Pictured: Mr Philip Grant - Principal of The Whitehaven Academy.
Mr Gary Kelly - Director of Schools for Bright Tribe Academy Trust.