Lancashire

Burnley school facing £4m loss 'no longer viable'

Burnley Campus where Thomas Whitham Sixth Form is located Image copyright Google
Image caption The sixth form school opened in 2006 with capacity for 600 pupils

A school which has been in "rapid" financial decline could close as it is "no longer viable", a council has said.

Lancashire County Council voted to issue Burnley's Thomas Whitham Sixth Form with a closure notice after a report found it was facing a £4m loss.

A final decision on closing the sixth form, which currently has 139 pupils, will be made in May, the council said.

Gemma Swift, who has campaigned to save it, said closure would mean "future generations are going to miss out".

The 600-capacity school, located on Burnley Campus in Barden Lane, opened in 2006.

'Devastated'

Lancashire County Council said it held a deficit balance of £3.2m in the last financial year and was forecast to increase that by £1m by April.

Phillippa Williamson, the council's cabinet member for schools, said that "unfortunately, we have to acknowledge the reality that the school is no longer financially viable with such low student numbers".

Ms Swift, whose daughter attends the school, has collected a 1,600 signature petition in support of it.

She said she was "devastated" by the decision to issue the notice.

"Future generations are going to miss out on the school - big colleges can be daunting for some children."

Once the closure notice has been published, there will be a five-week period during which representations can be made, before a final decision is made.

If the proposal goes ahead, the school will close on 31 August.

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