HUGE DECLINE: 150 year old school to close next year
The 15 students currently at the school will be moved to nearby Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School, Image: Google Maps
One of the oldest schools on Merseyside is to close next year.
St Teresa’s Catholic Infant school in Birkdale has suffered a series of challenges since an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report in 2016, which has led to a huge decline in pupil numbers and the school becoming unable to balance its books.
The school had been suffering from a decline in pupil numbers before the 2016 inspection, and although the school received an improved Ofsted rating of ‘Good’ when re-inspected in 2018, this did not stop further decline in pupil numbers, which in turn put pressure on the school’s finances.
Despite attempts by the governing body of the school to find a solution that could turn its fortunes around, the 151 year old school has been running under a deficit since 2019 with pupil numbers currently at an all time low of 15 despite a capacity of 100.
Today at a meeting of the council’s Cabinet, councillors agreed to a request from the governing body to formally start the process of closing the school, which a planned closure date of August 2022.
In a cabinet report produced by Sefton Council ahead of the meeting, it was revealed that the school was running on a licensed budget deficit of just over £55,000 in April, a situation with officers say will get considerably worse, growing to more than £130,000 by the end of the current financial year.
The deficit figure will eventually be covered by Sefton Council, with the report saying the financial position of St Teresa’s would be monitored prior to closure.
The 15 students currently at the school will be moved to nearby Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School.
Following approval by councillors today, the formal consultation will begin to bring into effect the school’s closure after 150 years., with a planned date for final cabinet approval of May 2022, before the school’s closure in August.
A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “At a meeting of Sefton Council’s Cabinet on Thursday, November 4th, it was agreed that the local authority will now begin a formal consultation on the closure of St Teresa’s Catholic Infant School in Southport.
“Sefton Council had previously been advised by the school’s Governing Body that they have exhausted all options available to increase pupil numbers and the local authority were asked to begin closure proceedings.
“A four week consultation will be undertaken in the coming weeks, with a report on the consultation’s findings set to be heard in early 2022.”
Words: Lisa Rand, Local Democracy Reporter
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