Closure of Houghton Regis Academy ‘under consideration’ with £1.1m deficit, parents told

Houghton Regis Academy
Houghton Regis Academy

Parents have been told by letter that the closure of Houghton Regis Academy is being considered, due to a low pupil intake and a financial deficit of £1.1m.

The letter sent by Greenwood Academies Trust reveals the trust has requested permission from the Department for Education to close the school.

If approved, Central Beds Council will be left to pick up the pieces and find alternative school places for the academy’s pupils.

In its letter, Greenwood took aim at the poor progress in the predicted housing boom of Houghton Regis, which it claims has led to a lack of pupils and resources.

Greenwood chief executive Wayne Norrie wrote: “There was an agreed plan... to become a secondary academy with a post-16 provision to serve the needs of the current community and the planned development of 7,500 new houses in the locality, in a new fit-for-purpose building.

“However, for many reasons,, the significant development of housing has not been delivered, which was to facilitate the expansion and rebuild of the academy.

“Over a number of years this situation has led to the academy becoming unviable because of the sustained very low numbers of students in the academy.”

News of the academy’s possible closure comes just as Central Beds Council is due to discuss a proposed rebuild of the school in its executive meeting on October 8.

Key issues cited by Greenwood Academies Trust include:

> Limited resources due to low pupil numbers, meaning difficulties recruiting specialist staff to balance.

> Inadequate buildings in the academy, unfit for modern secondary education.

> A financial deficit of £1.1m.

The Gazette has approached the DfE, Central Beds Council and ward members for comment.