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"Going back to the Dark Ages": Concern for future of sport at academy

"Going back to the Dark Ages": Concern for future of sport at academy

Published at 6:34am 14th October 2016. (Updated at 11:40am 14th October 2016)

A West Craven councillor is calling for top-level talks on the future of sports provision at West Craven High School in Barnoldswick.

David Whipp has raised concerns after the academy which is now running the school said it would stop using the adjacent sports centre at the end of this school year.

Pendle Education Trust, which took over the school in September, says it's no longer financially viable for them to keep paying to use the facilities. 

Councillor David Whipp said: "Twenty-five years ago, we fought hard to build the sports hall at the West Craven Sports Centre which has provided excellent indoor sports facilities for the high school.

"Now the new academy is saying they'll turn the clock back a quarter of century and go back to the wholly inadequate gym in the school.

"Going back to the 1990s, we campaigned for years to get a sports hall and learner pool at what was then just a swimming pool. After a lot of fundraising, we managed to get it built with the benefit of one of the first ever National Lottery grants. Although the school couldn’t put any capital investment into the development, they agreed to pay an amount every year towards the running costs for their use of the building.

"This is a massive blow for pupils at the school and also undermines the future viability of the sports centre itself.

"The issue has been discussed at Pendle Council’s West Craven Area Committee and now I’ve tabled a resolution for the next full council meeting calling for top-level talks to resolve this issue. I’m hoping we can get some sense on this. It’s not good enough to accept West Craven’s school sports provision going back to the dark ages."

A Pendle Education Trust spokesman said: "We are aware of Councillor David Whipp’s concerns about West Craven Academy ceasing its contract with Pendle Leisure Trust following ongoing negotiations. Ensuring our students get the best possible education they can is an absolute priority for West Craven, and as such every decision we make has their interests at heart.

"We have decided that for the amount of time our students spent at the facilities, maintaining a contract with PLT is not a financially viable solution. We will continue to provide a stimulating and challenging curriculum in the school sports hall, and are keen to see PET’s academies developing their own resources. Pendle Leisure Trust will continue to work with us in our lettings service e.g. sports facilities at Colne Primet Academy."