Bristol

All-girls school in Bath to admit boys

A Bath school has abandoned plans to become an all-girls academy in favour of the council's wishes for it to admit boys.

Bath and North East Somerset (Banes) Council had threatened to close Oldfield School if it did not change its mind by 1700 BST on Friday.

The Conservative-led council had said it would open a coeducational school on the site if Oldfield did not agree.

The turn-around was revealed in a joint statement.

The statement said the school and the council had both agreed plans.

'Investment of £1.85m'

It said: "This should also provide the basis for the Department for Education to give the green light to Oldfield's application to become a coeducational academy."

The school has stated in the past that it was prepared to accept boys, but that building work would be required, for example to provide appropriate sports facilities, toilets and changing rooms.

The council has said it will provide £1.85m and manage the necessary work to ensure boys can be admitted in Year 7 from September 2012.

Councillor Chris Watt, cabinet member for children's services, said: "It's great news that Oldfield has taken the decision to apply to become a coeducational academy.

"This fits with our plans for reorganisation of secondary schools in Bath and is what local parents have told us that they want and we will be working hand in hand with the school to support this process.

'Excellent improvements'

"We are also pleased that through this process we are supporting Bath and North East Somerset Council's priority of improving school buildings by providing the capital funding required for Oldfield to become coeducational."

Kim Sparling, the school's head teacher, said: "We are delighted that we will be getting some excellent building improvements as a result of this agreement."

The school will now need to carry out a consultation to seek the views of parents and prospective parents on the change.

This would have to be followed by the publication of a formal notice of the intention to change the school's status.

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