‘BURNHAM needs a secondary school’ – Buckinghamshire Council has been urged to re-open a ‘failed’ school under new management.

A working group from the Burnham Parish Council has been set up to demand the council open a ‘non-selective secondary school’ in the village to meet local needs.

They claim up to 70 per cent of Burnham’s teenagers have to travel to places such as Maidenhead and Slough to get an education where parents will have to fork out hundreds of pounds in transport costs.

The village does have a grammar school, but the group says this only serves about 30 per cent of its student population.

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Back in 2019, Burnham Park E-ACT Academy in Stomp Road was closed down by the Secretary of State after it was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, and saw a significant decrease in pupil numbers.

Now the group wants the school to re-open with a new lick of paint and ownership to serve the local people, save parents money in travelling costs, and meet the growing population in years to come.

They are calling for residents to contact their local Bucks councillors, Bucks Education, and Joy Morrisey MP for the school to re-open under new management.

A statement from the working group read: “Burnham is the only town in Buckinghamshire to have a grammar school but no corresponding non-selective secondary school.  This means that the 70 per cent of children who don’t pass the 11+ must travel to school, enduring a longer school day and reduced access to extracurricular activities.

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“Every day an entire school of children travels out of Burnham, usually at the expense of their parents, at a cost of up to £1,000 per child per year. There is a clear need to provide excellent local secondary school education in the Burnham community.”

But councillor Julie Ward, deputy cabinet member for education and skills, will need to justify a need to open a new school to the Department for Education and, at the moment, the data shows there are enough school places in Burnham for one to open.

She added: “Most families in Burnham choose to send their children to secondary school in Maidenhead. There are two other secondary schools in Buckinghamshire within five miles of Burnham that have capacity and Burnham families would qualify for free home to school transport as they are catchment schools for the area.”

But the group believes they have more than enough children attending primary schools across the Berkshire boarder of Burnham than attending primary schools within the Bucks side. They also said the nearby school in Bourne End is “oversubscribed”.

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They also say parents choose Maidenhead schools out of “duress” and they understand transport is free for children to go to Bourne End from the north and west of Burnham and subsidised to £500 for the south and east of the village.

The working group is concerned for the future of the secondary school site as it is now within the council’s asset management portfolio, meaning it could be redeveloped into housing or sport activities.

Cllr Ward said the council is “exploring options” for the site and are “yet to reach a final decision”.