MP Andrew Selous concerned at 'disruption' of lessons at Houghton Regis Academy

Andrew Selous (inset) has concerns about Houghton Regis Academy
Andrew Selous (inset) has concerns about Houghton Regis Academy

South West Beds MP Andrew Selous has voiced his concern over disruption to lessons at a troubled secondary school in Houghton Regis.

Last month, Greenwood Academies Trust announced it had sought permission from the Department for Education to shut down Houghton Regis Academy.

The school was said to be undersubscribed with falling pupil numbers due to slow progress in the housing expansion of the town, as well as a financial deficit of £1.1m.

Mr Selous stated he had spoken at length last week with Wayne Norrie, the CEO of Greenwood Academies Trust, to discuss the future of the school.

Mr Selous said: “I am very concerned by reports I have had from parents about lessons being disrupted and children not being able to learn.

"Wayne Norrie has told me that he will be visiting the school again himself next week and will report back to me on what action the headteacher, deputy head and the senior leadership team are taking to make sure that no lessons are disrupted and that children are able to learn well in lessons.

"I understand that specialist subject teachers are being provided to the school through the Redborne Teaching School Alliance and Greenwood Academies Trust is making a further IT investment in the school to benefit the children’s learning.

"I will continue to keep a very close eye on the quality of education throughout the period up to the creation of the new secondary school in Houghton Regis which was unanimously approved for funding by Central Bedfordshire Council on Tuesday evening and is excellent news.

"I am also working to try and make sure that there is a seamless transition from the closure of Houghton Regis Academy to the new secondary school.”

A spokesperson for the Trust said: "The school is well below capacity because a housing development due to have been built nearby has not taken place.

"This has led to the school being unviable, with too few pupils and too few teachers to be able to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum.

"Additionally the condition of the buildings is not appropriate for the delivery of a high-quality secondary education.

“Therefore with great regret, and despite our hard work to make the school viable, the possible closure of the school is now being considered.

“However, no decision has been made and there will be a listening period later this term when we are very keen to the views of all interested parties on this matter.

"We are working very hard with the DfE and the local authority to ensure that, if closure is the final decision, all pupils will have a school place and access to high-quality education provision.”