Due to financial pressures experienced by Shropshire Council, Leisure Services Officers approached the Lakelands Academy to discuss future management options for the continued operation of Lakelands Sports Centre, with a view to transferring managerial responsibility to the Academy as from the 1st of April 2014. Following discussions, members of the Board of Governors met to consider proposals put forward by the academy.
The Governors acknowledge that this has been a difficult decision for the local authority who would wish, if budgets allow, to be in a position to continue to manage and operate community use facilities not just in Ellesmere but countywide. However, in reaching their decision the Governors ask the community to appreciate that, as with all other schools/academies in Shropshire, Lakelands Academy is under increasing pressure to achieve a balanced budget despite reduced levels of funding.
Whilst conversion to academy status allows freedom for the Board of Governors to make local decisions, its first priority must be to offer the very best provision for its students and ensure that funding is allocated to support this. As a new Academy still in its first year we were thrilled this summer to achieve a 6% improvement in GCSE results and that these results put Lakelands Academy in the top spot for 2013 when compared with other North Shropshire schools/academies.
As a popular and successful academy Lakelands prides itself on doing things right and for this reason the Academy remains committed to the delivery of community use facilities. The Board of Governors have made the following recommendation which it is hoped will address this need and continue the valued partnership we have with our local community and its surrounding area;
With effect from 1st of April 2014 Lakelands Academy will take over community use arrangements from Shropshire Council and continue to offer its facilities for community use on the basis that the income generated covers the costs incurred.
On the 11the December 2013, various representatives for the community who currently use Lakelands Academy facilities met with Mrs Davies the Academy’s Business Manager and Peter Davis, Principal Leisure Facilities Manager, Shropshire Council. It was agreed that a small working party would be established with representatives from each specialism (i.e. football, badminton, fitness). This working party met on Tuesday 14th January to agree arrangments which need to be put in place so that use of Lakelands Academy facilities may continue from 1st of April 2014.