Press coverage of SEUTC bid while SHC site uncertainty continues

Stephen Capper, current head teacher of Sawyers Hall College and leading figure in the bid to establish South Essex University Technical College (SEUTC) in Brentwood, is featured in this week’s Brentwood Recorder. The article is available on line here:

Mr Capper confirms that the proposers are intending to continue to work on ways to provide the vocational provision that was identified as a priority in the Essex CC and head teacher consultation in 2009 when the decision was taken to close Sawyers Hall College (SHC). Whether that will be on the site in Sawyers Hall Lane is currently unclear.

The Brentwood Gazette published an article on 6th June that also covered Mr Capper’s reaction to the decision and his determination to provide a vocational option for Brentwood. Disappointment in the decision is also expressed by Leader of Brentwood Council, Louise McKinlay which underlines the one dimensional nature of current and future educational options in the town.

Later in the same paper, Endeavour School head teacher Mr Mick Southgate also laments the missed opportunity to provide vocational options for the town’s children. As part of a double page article, a section titled “Youngsters wide and challenging syllabus” the Head of the joint primary and secondary school that provides for children with moderate to severe leaerning difficulties is identified as having supported the Studio School option for the Sawyers hall site but states,

“our need is not as great as the other secondary schools as we only have 12 students leave each year, but we supported the bid for the vocational college at Sawyers Hall as there would have been provision for our pupils. As it is they will have to travel to Chelmsford, Basildon or further afield to access courses.”

At present the future use of the Sawyers Hall lane site is still undecided with negotiations continuing about what parts and associated facilities will be used by the proposed Becket Keys Church of England School, Havering College and Prospects College from September 2012 as well as the remainder that had been earmarked by SEUTC.

When asked what will happen when SHC closes, an Essex County Council spokesperson said:

“The expectation is that the site (which is currently held by the governing body) will revert to the County Council when the College closes on 31 August 2012. Options are currently being explored as to the future use of the site.”

We will update this post with any further press coverage on the UTC decision and will seek to provide clarification of the proposers future plans that we can share.

We also intend to closely follow the negotiations that Essex CC references with a view to providing some clarity for local residents and likely users of the site which, with only three months to go is still very uncertain.

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