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Consultation on future of troubled Nidderdale school

Foremost School. (1209036AM1)

Foremost School. (1209036AM1)

Controversial plans to hand over control of a troubled Nidderdale school have been discussed at a public meeting.

North Yorkshire County Council, which runs Foremost School, has revealed plans for its management it to be passed to a private provider.

The £12m school, for boys with behavioural, social and emotional difficulties, has been plagued with problems since it opened in 2011. It was placed in special measures last year and has lost at least five governors and two headteachers in just two years.

Now, as the council says it will be best managed by a private company, it is consulting on public opinion.

“Foremost provides state-of-the-art facilities,” said a statement. “The school has faced a challenging time in making sure that standards of education and care match.”

But, after Monday’s meeting at Darley Memorial Hall, further concerns have been raised about the way the consultation has been carried out.

“The ‘consultation seemed to be anything but,” said Nidd Valley Coun Helen Flynn in a letter to the Advertiser. “It’s merely an exercise in passing on information about what the county is intending to do.”

Coun Flynn said presentations were based more on financial costings than on educating vulnerable young people.

“There was no opportunity to hold the council to account for what seems to have been a mismanaged project from beginning to end, costing local taxpayers millions of pounds,” she said. “It seems the county now wants to privatise the school and move on without thinking about what is the best way of educating these young people.”

 

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