CUTS: Maltby Academy's future thrown into doubt

MALTBY’S controversial academy was Rotherham’s key to the BSF goldmine—but even its rebuild was cast into uncertainty this week.

An academy was needed somewhere in the borough in order to tap into the £222 million fund, and Maltby was chosen.

Despite a long-running protest from residents and parents, the community school reopened under its new banner in January—outside local authority control and with private sponsorship from U-xplore.

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But the promise of new classrooms and facilities could be dashed—as it has been for the rest of Rotherham—when the Government reviews each academy individually.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said that where academies needed to meet a demand for significant new places, building work could still go ahead.

But admissions at Maltby will be reduced this September by 90 places to 200.

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Principal Dave Sutton said: “At this stage we are not clear what the announcement means for the Maltby building programme as all academy schemes are to be reviewed on a case by case basis.

“The ambition for Maltby Academy remains the same, to provide a first class learning environment and access to cutting edge technology to inspire young and old to engage in learning and achieve their full potential.

“U-xplore and the borough council appreciate how a new school building can raise aspirations and inspire young people.

“Equally, they subscribe to the academy ethos which is to raise standards of achievement and secure excellence through high quality teaching and learning.”

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Mr Sutton, who is hopeful of another exam results increase this year, added that all stakeholders would be doing everything in their power over the coming months to try to secure a new building.

The long-term goal for the Braithwell Road site was for it to become an all-encompassing 0-19 years learning campus.

This now looks increasingly unlikely as the investment for Hilltop Special School is lost. A rebuilt Lilly Hall Junior and Infants was also part of the plan, but the cash would not have been from BSF.

In February 2009, Rotherham Council confirmed to the Advertiser that “some form of academy” was necessary in order for the BSF funding to be available.

No-one from Hilltop would comment this week.