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Fight over Woolston Free School continues
8:32am Thursday 14th June 2012 in News
PADDINGTON House Hotel and the former police training camp in Bruche were offered by the council as potential sites for the new Woolston free school.
But Government officials instead preferred to ‘bully’ officials at Warrington Town Hall into allowing them to use Bruche Infants School before preparing a bid to build a new school on playing fields at Hillock Lane.
A meeting of the education watchdog committee on Wednesday night heard the department for education issued Warrington Borough Council with an ultimatum.
Either alllow the free school to move into Bruche or see them seize the Woolston High School building - which will be empty when the final pupils leave next month - which has been earmarked for special educational needs children.
Clr Colin Froggatt, executive member for education (LAB - Poulton South) told the meeting Government officials had been using Google maps to find a suitable site for the free school.
But he said there would not be enough pupils to make it viable and said head teachers in school outside Woolston had been approached as free school officials look to boost numbers.
He said: “I fought the closure in 2007. But the landscape has changed.
“My children went to Woolston High School and my heart says I would like a high school. But my head says it won’t happen.”
The meeting heard this was a ‘golden opportunity’ to give Warrington the best special educational school in the country.
Under the plans, confirmed earlier this year, pupils from Green Lane and Foxwood would move into Woolston High with work set to start in September.
Clr Sheila Woodyatt, former education boss at the council, (CON Lymm) said the opportunity could not be missed.
“This will give us the best provision in the north west if not the country and our special needs children deserve this,” she said.
The committee agreed to write to the executive to support the decision take last month to accept the free school onto Bruche but to press ahead with plans for the special school at Woolston.
But they asked the committee to urge Government education bosses to back the special school plan.