The Bath Studio School looks set to close, following a statement from the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust.

The statement reads, ‘It is with much sadness that Wellsway Multi Academy Trust (WMAT/Trust) is announcing that, following its request, the Secretary of State for Education has granted a ‘decision in principle’ to close The Bath Studio School by mutual consent. Following this approval in principle there will now be a five week listening period during which individuals and organisations can put forward their views on the proposed closure to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

‘The Bath Studio School (TBSS) was opened in September 2014 and has, despite considerable effort, struggled to recruit students. Although the school’s capacity is for 300 students, aged from 14-19, it currently educates just 126 students and has never recruited more than 140 students in any one of its five academic years of existence. This lack of demand has led to the situation where the school is not financially viable, or educationally sustainable, going forward.

‘The Trust has reviewed several options to keep TBSS open but none are likely to be achievable within the local educational landscape and, reluctantly, WMAT has therefore made the request for closure.

‘If the request is given formal approval, TBSS will close at the end of the
school year 2019/20 – with no further students being admitted to the school
from September 2019. This will enable all current students to complete the
courses and qualifications they have enrolled on. During this period WMAT
will work individually with students to support their on-going education and
transition and will also be available to talk to their parents/carers. WMAT will also provide advisory support for TBSS staff, and will look to identify other opportunities for them within other WMAT academies.

‘Aspire Academy, which shares a site with TBSS, will remain within the Trust
and plans are already underway to expand the school to provide more places
for children with social, emotional and mental health needs. Alongside this
expansion, WMAT is planning to work with the local authority to further
develop special school provision on the site to meet the growing need for
more special school places in Bath & North East Somerset.’

‘The listening period runs from 23 October 2018 to 27 November 2018.’

A spokesperson for the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust added, “We recognise that the announcement about Bath Studio School is a cause of sadness to students and their families as well as to staff and to all of us at the trust. The request for closure was made with a heavy heart.

“We organised a parents’ meeting as early as possible to explain the decision to families, and all questions were answered to the best of our ability on the night. Parents are welcome to come back to us with any further concerns and we will meet them individually if that would be helpful. Our intention is to support students, parents and staff at this difficult time and throughout the transition period. As we have stated, all students will be able to complete their examination courses before moving on to the next stage in their education.

“All options were carefully considered before the decision was made. We tried hard to make the school viable but were unable to share the issues with parents as this would have significantly damaged confidence and reduced demand for places still further.”

Speaking about the closure, Bath Studio School student Grace Williams said, “We are really, really gutted, angry and upset, and we are trying to fight the closure. For a lot of students who have had problems at other school, the Bath Studio School has meant a close knit community where they feel safe. Also, a lot of those students were affected by the closure of the Bath Community Academy and now they feel like they have been let down twice.”