The fight for secondary education in Mablethorpe goes on

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Campaigners battling to establish a Coastal Free School in Mablethorpe have vowed their fight is far from over.

Plans to re-establish secondary school education in the town suffered a blow at the end of May when the David Ross Education Trust (DRET) ended their support for a Coastal Free School amid concerns over low pupil numbers.

Now, the project team behind the Coastal Free School – Chris Flanagan, Paddy Prince, Tony Howard and Sara Goodley – say they have drawn encouragement from what is happening to secondary education in Louth.

Two non-selective secondary schools in Louth - Monks’ Dyke and Cordeaux Academy - will be taken under the wing of the Tollbar Multi-Academy Trust in September. Monks’ Dyke will be converted into an academy at this stage. There are also proposals on the table for Monks’ Dyke and Cordeaux to merge into a single academy, working across two sites.

The proposals would affect students living on the coast as a number of them are now educated in Louth following the closure of the Mablethorpe campus of Monks’ Dyke last July. That closure means Mablethorpe no longer provides secondary education.

In a statement, the project team said: “We welcome the exciting news that Toll Bar Multi Academy Trust (MAT) is to set to become the principal academy provider of exceptional education for the Louth and northern coastal areas of Lincolnshire.”

The project team has set up a new website, renewing their objectives.

Mr Flanagan told the Leader: “There is still and always is hope for a Coastal Free School and secondary education to return to Mablethorpe in the future.

“We are not folding up - what has happened to date makes up a chapter in what will be a very large book.”

Mr Flanagan revealed the project team did discuss a possible partnership with the Tollbar Multi-Academy Trust.

However, he indicated Tollbar could not offer any support at the time because it had taken on responsibility for Somercotes Academy.

The project team statement added: “CFS Members now see a real opportunity for a well thought out, long-term education plan to be established for the Louth and coastal areas which serves the needs of all local communities.

“The question of how quality education is delivered in the coastal area must be placed firmly back on the table to consider how a highly regarded provider - such as Toll Bar Multi-Academy Trust - could play a leading role in this.

“There is an un-missable opportunity to broaden the scope of the planned consultation for establishing Louth Academy and engage with parents in all local communities to determine needs and demand and to shape a solution that brings exceptional education to the maximum number of children in this part of Lincolnshire.”

• To view the new CFS website, or to get involved, visit: http://coastalfreeschool.org.uk.