Campaigners in Mablethorpe continue battle for free school - despite county council plans

The fight still goes on for a new Free School in Mablethorpe despite the county council making use of the building in September.
The fight still goes on for a new Free School in Mablethorpe despite the county council making use of the building in September.

Lincolnshire County Council is pressing ahead with plans to use the Mablethorpe site of Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College as a learning centre for children with ‘behavioural problems’.

The new development follows the closure of the coast’s last remaining secondary school, which shut its doors for the final time on Thursday (July 14) after 50 years.

Despite the county council’s plans, the Leader can reveal that campaigners are continuing their efforts to establish a new ‘Coastal Free School’ at the college site, hopefully to open by September 2018.

District and town councillor Tony Howard, one of the leading figures in the Free School campaign, admitted the next few weeks were critical and called on parents to express their interest in the school - before it is too late.

Coun Howard said: “We are looking to the future and are doing everything we can to secure good secondary education for the coast.

“Now we have hit a critical stage, I would say with all the work that is going on 
behind the scenes, we are 80 per cent of the way there.

“But we need parents who have children in Years 3 and 4 to come forward and express their interest in this new school.

“All we are asking is for ten minutes of their time, to take a look at our website and fill out our survey.

“Without that support the whole project could fail – it really is that important.”

Coun Howard added: “We cannot convince the government to accept this school if we don’t have the parental support backing us.

“I know it’s the summer holidays, but thinking about all this in September will be too late, it would put us another year behind.”

“We cannot do this on our own. This project needs you, the parents now.”

The County Council has agreed to make the site available for the Coastal Free School - if the bid is successful.

Heather Sandy, assistant director for children’s services at the council, said: “Parents and friends of the school are exploring the option of creating a free school.

“We have said that we will make the site available for a free school if there is a successful application within 12-months.

“In the interim, the building will be secured, but there will be some use of the facilities at MDTC by our teaching and learning centre for local children that have been permanently excluded.”

Until the outcome of the campaign for a free school is known, pupils of a secondary school age from the town will be taught at the Louth site of Monks Dyke Tennyson College - or other schools in Alford and North Somercotes.

1 For interested parents of the Coastal Free School, the survey is available via: http://coastalfreeschool.org.uk/survey.