A TRUST is in discussions to work closer with a school facing an uncertain future, as the political row over its potential closure intensifies.

Oasis Community Learning is in discussions with the Department for Education to help with Chamberlayne College for the Arts.

But as reported, the Tickleford Drive school is embroiled in a political mud-fight – with city leaders slinging insults over plans for its future.

Labour leader of Southampton City Council councillor Simon Letts has accused Conservative Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith of stirring up trouble.

Cllr Letts said yesterday:

“I want to put on record our support for the brilliant new leadership team at Chamberlayne and our intention to back that school with support and investment.

“The only threat to Chamberlayne comes from the regional schools commissioner – a Conservative government official who has been given powers to close schools over the head of the local council.

“If Mr Smith wants to do something useful for his constituents then I suggest he spends his time lobbying his government about the vicious funding cuts to school budgets rather than putting out press releases designed to worry the Chamberlayne school community.”

But Mr Smith hit back against his rival.

He said: “I wrote to the council to ask them if there was any truth about a proposed closure, all they had to do was reply by return and say the school is safe.

“Firstly, they didn’t reply at all and when they finally did, they did not deny the rumours.

“If the leader of the council is guaranteeing the future of Chamberlayne College for the Arts then we will all breathe a huge sigh of relief and get on with giving our young people in Woolston and Weston the best possible education.

“So my question to the council leader is clear.

“Make an unequivocal statement now that Chamberlayne College for the Arts is safe and then we will be able to hold him to that promise in the future.”

Meanwhile a statement from Oasis Community Learning said: “We are pleased to confirm that we are in discussions with our partners the Department for Education and the local authority about working more closely with the Chamberlayne College for the Arts, exploring how we can support swift and sustainable progress at the school.”

As previously reported The Sholing Technology College will be taken over by Oasis in September.

It will become the third city school run by the international Christian charity after Oasis Academy Mayfield and Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill.