A HIGH school said it had to make a public announcement following the "unnecessary confusion and concern" caused by a flyer distributed by Leigh MP James Grundy.

Following the distribution of a Conservative Party flyer, Golborne High sent out a message to parents and on their social media channels to address claims that concerned the school.

The school statement read: "You may have received a flyer from Conservative Party candidate James Grundy MP, which states that we are academising with Winstanley College.

"This is categorically untrue. James Grundy has not been in communication with this school in the last 12 months. Please ignore this factually incorrect information."

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Flyer supporting Golborne High's expansion and 'academy status'

Leigh Journal: The Golborne High section of Mr Grundy's flyerThe Golborne High section of Mr Grundy's flyer (Image: Contributed)

In Mr Grundy's flyer, he emphasised support for the expansion of Golborne High, which was recently named in the government's School Rebuilding Programme which will invest in and refurbish schools across the country.

To accommodate increasing intake demand following housing developments in Golborne and Lowton, Wigan Council also approved £1.2m for Golborne High's expansion in 2022, which will go towards building three new classrooms.

The contentious part of Mr Grundy's statement is where he stated support for Golborne High's "securing of Academy status alongside Winstanley College".

Discussions of a multi-academy trust with Winstanley College

Leigh Journal: Golborne High has been earmarked for expansion following council and government fundingGolborne High has been earmarked for expansion following council and government funding (Image: Google Maps)

In January 2022, leaders at Golborne High and Winstanley College did announce that they were exploring the idea of forming a multi-academy trust, which would have seen the institutions forming a close relationship and governed by a single group of members.

At the time, the discussions included a "detailed evaluation and public consultation", involving parents, governors, stakeholders, and Leigh MP James Grundy.

However, Golborne High headteacher Alison Gormally stressed that after much deliberation, the decision was made not to form an academy trust with the Orrell-based college.

Leigh Journal: Golborne High were in discussions about a potential academy partnership with Winstanley CollegeGolborne High were in discussions about a potential academy partnership with Winstanley College (Image: Google Maps)

Mrs Gormally said that parents and relevant stakeholders were informed of this decision at the time, and the information was made available on Golborne and Winstanley's websites.

School leaders were said to be disappointed that the MP's office did not discuss the contents of the flyer before issuing it, which caused "unnecessary confusion and concern" in the community.

However, the headteacher added that the school "hope to work with Mr Grundy and his team in a more positive manner moving forward".

Full statement from Golborne High:

Leigh Journal: Headteacher Alison Gormally and prefects at Golborne HighHeadteacher Alison Gormally and prefects at Golborne High (Image: Golborne High)

In a statement to the Journal, Golborne High headteacher Alison Gormally said: 

"The school has not been approached by Mr. Grundy's office to discuss the contents of the information that was sent to residents in the local area. The school was made aware of the contents of the leaflet through Governors and parents.

"This caused great concern as some of the information in the leaflet, related to Golborne High School being an academy was incorrect.

"Last year Golborne High School and Winstanley College explored the idea and in doing so, consulted with partners and stakeholders such as Mr Grundy. This is part of the academisation process.

"A decision was taken not to academize by both organisations after much deliberation and the correct channels were followed to inform all stakeholders of that decision.

"There is no requirement to contact Mr. Grundy's office to inform him of this decision as it was published on both websites and the correct authorities were informed.

"We continue to be a very strong partner with Winstanley College who are an exceptional post 16 provider for our pupils.

"Unfortunately Mr. Grundy's publication has caused confusion in the local community and the school had to take action immediately to ensure that parents and children felt confident in the information that we have provided.

"The school contacted all parents through our online systems and via social media in order to ensure that the correct information was received by all parents in the quickest possible time.

"It is disappointing that Mr Grundy's Office did not discuss the content of the leaflet with the School before issuing it.

"It is also very surprising that Mr Grundy's office was not aware of the decision that was taken not to Academise, given that this decision was shared publicly on both Golborne High School and Winstanley College's Websites.

"The unnecessary confusion and concern caused by the publication from Mr Grundy's office has now been rectified due to the school's rapid response.

"We hope to work with Mr Grundy and his Team in a positive manner moving forwards."

James Grundy's office was contacted for a comment.