All change to church school ...

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A WIGAN secondary which was threated with closure is now to become a church school.

Lowton High School - marked for closure under Building Schools for the Future has - successfully applied to become Liverpool Diocese’s first Church of England Foundation School.

But Wigan’s ruling cabinet, which formally approved the application by the 884-pupil school this week, today assured parents that there will be no change to the admission criteria.

Headteacher John Shanahan said that the change would be a gradual process because current families with pupils at Lowton elected to send their children there not knowing it was to become a church school.

As a Foundation school, it will be run by their own governing body rather than the Local Education Authority. It will employ the 56 staff while the land and buildings are usually owned by the governing body or a charitable foundation.

Mr Shanahan said that staff were looking forward to working with the Diocese of Liverpool and Manchester and the Lowton community to develop the school’s new identity.

He said: “The proposal was originally developed after the Building Schools for the Future project was cancelled and I am delighted that the council has now approved our plans to change the status to that of a Church of England High School.

“With more than 75 per cent of our students coming from church schools and no secondary church school in the area, we felt that it was an opportunity to offer parents a choice they don’t currently have.

“We also believe that we can use our new status to continue our drive for high standards for all students.”

Council Corporate Director for People’s Services Nick Hudson said: “The Governors and Dioceses believe that the change will benefit the school by helping it remain focused on securing high standards for its pupils. They also believe that it will provide more choice for parents as there is only one other Church of England secondary school in the borough.”

In future the school will continue to give priority for admission to local children and to children who have brothers or sisters at the school. It will also continue to offer the adult evening classes currently provided.

Director of the Board of the CE Education for the Diocese of Liverpool Jon Richardson said: “Lowton is the Diocese ’s first secondary school in this area and will complement the provision of our excellent local primary schools.”