THE future of a city school hangs in the balance.

Education chiefs have confirmed that the potential closure of Chamberlayne College for the Arts has been discussed.

It comes just months after city education chiefs were accused of “an appalling lack of planning” over their proposals to find a site for a new city school – and days after the latest Ofsted report praised head teacher Nick Giles for his “effective” leadership.

In February 2017 government inspectors said the school was ‘inadequate’.

Now Mr Giles has said he would be “strongly opposed” to a closure, while Tory MP Royston Smith has accused Southampton City Council of a “secret plot”, and said parents and teachers are being left in the dark about the school’s future.

Mr Giles – who took on the school 12 months ago – said there would be “no educational or financial value” in closing the school – despite the fact that there are only 420 pupils on the roll, out of a capacity of 900.

He said: “We are on a sharp trajectory. The results went up last year.

“This school has got a massive future. It’s a great community. The staff are working very hard to improve but until we become a ‘good’ school and we look better it’s going to be an uphill struggle.

“We are always asking for more money. We need about £4-5million spending on it. But some of our buildings are only 10 years old.”

He added that he is “aware” of discussions, but not of any decisions having been made.

“The governors and myself are strongly opposed to any plans to close Chamberlayne College for the Arts. We believe that there must remain a secondary school in Weston that serves the local communities of Weston, Woolston and beyond.”

Mr Smith slammed the city council and accused them of being “underhand” in their plans. He said: “Southampton City Council has drawn up these plans to close Chamberlayne College for the Arts and hasn’t had the common courtesy to tell me, the hardworking staff or parents.

“I am calling on the council to come clean about their closure plans. I wrote to the council on March 26 and asked them for clarity and not for the first time my letter has gone unanswered.”

City education chief Councillor Darren Paffey said: “Southampton City Council is currently considering the viability of a number of different options in relation to the provision of secondary school places across the city as part of detailed proposals for a city-wide capital programme.

“The council has been in discussions with the regional schools commissioner and Chamberlayne College for the Arts in relation to its future, however there are currently no plans to close to the school.

“Proposals and recommendations for Chamberlayne College for the Arts will go through cabinet and full council in June.”