This is the full text of a letter sent from Councillor Joe Rayment to the Education Secretary on 22nd October 2018
Dear Secretary of State,
Ministers from your department have made an in-principle decision to close Bath Studio School following the Multi Academy Trust’s request to seek this by mutual agreement.
You may not be aware, but significant numbers of children at Bath Studio School transferred there from Bath Community Academy, when it closed very recently. Bath Studio School serves the area that has just lost its local secondary school, and provided a lifeline for many parents and children.
Since the closure of Bath Community Academy, Bath Studio School now has one of the highest proportions of students eligible for free school meals in Bath (if not the highest).
Bath Studio School was opened only in 2014 and has only had one full OFSTED inspection. The school has state of the art facilities which allow it to be a fantastic school for any child interested in digital media – a growing and vital industry in the West of England. I have personally been interviewed at the school in their TV studio a number of times, as have other local politicians and even the former Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP. I have always been impressed by the dedication of the staff, and the professionalism and skills of the pupils.
The school could improve, of course. But to close it after just a few years of being open doesn’t give it that chance. By even floating the idea of closure, you have made it substantially harder for the school to improve on its admissions, but don’t take away that opportunity for improvement completely by shutting the school.
This community has been let down by ministers from your department already in the last two years. Please do not let that happen again.
Before you or your ministers make a decision to close this school – should that be the decision you are minded to take – the very least you could do is personally visit it and speak directly to teachers, parents and pupils. Any less would be a dereliction of duty and would grossly underestimate the scale of the damage that you could be making.
I sincerely hope that you will instruct your department to make the right decision in this case.
Councillor Joe Rayment
Twerton ward, Bath & North East Somerset Council