Page 3, 17th March 2006

17th March 2006
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Page 3, 17th March 2006 — England's 'worst Catholic school' saved from closure
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England's 'worst Catholic school' saved from closure

BY ED WEST

BisHoe Wulstan school in Rugby, one of the worst half dozen in the country in terms of GCSE results, has been saved from closure by a meeting of Warwickshire County Council cabinet.

The secondary modern comprehensive — which goes by the official title of Bishop Wulstan School Business and Enterprise College — was threatened with closure prior to the meeting last Friday, when the council's cabinet voted to keep it open for September and work towards making it a "3-16 partnership".

Last year only 12 per cent of pupils at the school gained five Grade A-Cs at GCSE, a rate that places Wulstan at the very bottom of the Catholic league table, while only five other schools in the whole of England and Wales performed worse.

The last Ofsted report stated that 30 per cent of the pupils, way above the national average, had learning difficulties. These included social, emotional and behavioural problems.

Staff turnover, meanwhile, was very high, with twothirds of employees being replaced within the last two years.

Headmaster Brendan Higgins said in a press announcement that, "This decision echoes the very positive resolution put forward by the Rugby Area Committee, "And it now confirms that Bishop Wulstan Catholic School will be open in September 2006 and continue to provide distinctive faith education."

Wulstan is the only state Catholic school in Rugby, and council leaders wanted it closed because they believed that with 80 pupils a year it was too small to be sustainable. Last year it was the first choice for just 25 sets of parents.

Instead council leaders hoped to build a city academy on the western edge of town that would specialise in "business and enterprise."

Up to 500 people had turned up to a meeting at the school the week before to protest at the planned closure this September,and jeered council claims that the school's closure would not save them money.

Anthony Roberts, who had been head for more than 30 years, attacked the speed of the LEA's plans. "You are destroying a community, not just a school" he told the LEA last week.

However the Archdiocese of Birmingham's wish that the ailing school would become a new "Catholic academy" may now come true.

After the decision last week, the Archdiocese was unavailable for comment.




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