Battle to save pupils’ TV studio

Business plan: Propoals have been drawn up for Doncaster South City Learning Centre.'                      Picture: Steve Taylor
Business plan: Propoals have been drawn up for Doncaster South City Learning Centre.' Picture: Steve Taylor
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A PLAN has been drawn up which could see facilities at one of Doncaster’s City Learning Centres remain open to schools and the whole community.

Doncaster Council cabinet has agreed to close the Doncaster North and Doncaster South city learning centres, after Government funding was ended.

But the headteacher at Balby Carr School, where the Doncaster South base is sited, hopes to keep some of its facilities.

Headteacher Martin Craig is planning to present a business plan to council officials on November 25.

He is particularly keen to keep a working television studio which forms part of the centre, and is not available elsewhere to schools in Doncaster.

Mr Craig said “I know there is underfunding, and that some of the things that are done at the CLC are unsustainable.

“But we have put together a bid to run the site as a community engagement plan. It would mean it was open and available at the weekends to the wider public.

“There is a phenomenal television studio there, complete with a green screen.

“It is very useful in engaging pupils.”

The plans would see the facility run by the same not for profit community company as runs some of the existing sports facilities at the school outside school hours.

Finance would come from external organisations paying to use the site, and charging other schools to use the facility.

Doncaster Council has raised the possibility of siting a referral unit for excluded pupils on the Balby Carr site as part of any deal over the centre.

But Mr Craig says he believes using the centre’s building for that purpose would send the wrong signals to his pupils.

He said the Balby Carr building is over 50 years old and there were no current plans to rebuild it, at a time when many other schools in the borough are being rebuilt.

Mr Craig is concerned sending pupils from outside the school to a modern building on the site may cause his pupils to think they were not considered as important as other youngsters, who were being provided with modern, state-of-the-art facilities.

A spokesman for Doncaster Council said discussions on the future of the learning centre in the south were still ongoing.