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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

BAE backs plan to save Barrow school

ONE of the area’s biggest employers has given its backing to efforts to save Chetwynde School from closure.

JOHN HUDSON

BAE Systems, which employs 5,000 people in Barrow, says it can not help finance a rescue plan at the troubled private school, which is bidding to raise £500,000 to guarantee it can stay open beyond its July closure deadline.

However, John Hudson, managing director of BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines, says the shipyard is willing to lend management expertise to help the school survive.

Mr Hudson said: “It would not be appropriate for us to be giving Chetwynde School money.

“However if they want to access our expertise, whether that is in accounting, site management, or other areas, we would be happy to help, as we would for any local school.”

And Mr Hudson reiterated that along with strong housing and health provision, a good education mix is important for BAE Systems and the Furness area as the business continues its plans to recruit up to 1,000 more people over the next 10 years.

Mr Hudson said: “While it is not our place to recommend to employees certain schools above other schools, it is certainly in the interests of the area to have a choice of educational establishments, and Chetwynde is important as part of that mix.”

Donations of around £200,000 have been pledged so far to help the school stay open for the next academic year.

Members of the Chetwynde community are working around the clock to secure the future of one of Cumbria’s best GCSE and A-Level providers.

The new Chetwynde Support Group, made up of parents and business people, met with the board of governors and headmaster over the weekend, and meetings will continue this week. A three-stage plan has been agreed, first tackling the short-term stabilisation of Chetwynde, then the re-financing of the school and the strategic long-term planning.

The school has 287 students, from three to 18-years. Next year the school was due to have 250 students. Chetwynde has said to be viable it needs 300 pupils.

Have your say

I have read the many comments posted by the community on this site and feel saddened and ashamed by many of them.
I was taught in the state sector and have taught in the state sector and my children go to a state school. I currently work at Chetwynde.
This should not be a debate about private vs state education.
Pupils may be hauled out of a school where they are happy and thriving and away from their friends. Hard working teachers may lose their jobs and their livelihoods. To be told your child's school is closing will be a blow to any caring parent, and to be told you will be made redundant is devastating to any employed individual.
I feel desperately sad that people have let their political opinions mask their ability to show and express compassion, sympathy and empathy towards a community in shock and distress.
A society which offers choice is rich. If someone can not afford to holiday abroad, should nobody holiday abroad?
We live in a beautiful part of the country and we are very lucky to have excellent mainstream schools in our area as well as an excellent private school.
My heart goes out to the pupils parents and teachers at Chetwynde and I wish you all the very best in your efforts to keep the school alive.

Posted by Michelle on 4 April 2012 at 12:03

What about all the other local schools that aren't attended by people that can afford to go to a private school?? BAE you have your morals all wrong and should either keep out of it or put your expertice into the poorer local schools!

Posted by BAE worker & non-Chetwynde Paren on 4 April 2012 at 12:00

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