A DECISION on whether the Deanes School will become an academy is expected to be made this week.

Governors at the closurethreatened school, in Thundersley, are hoping the Education Secretary will support the application and, in doing so, remove it from Essex County Council’s jurisdiction – meaning the school’s future will be secure.

Michael Gove and Lord Nash will pass judgment after members of the Department for Education visited the school in November.

Becoming an academy would keep the school open and Desi McKeown, assistant headteacher, is hopeful of a positive conclusion.

He said: “We are in the dark as to when a decision will be made, but we would be delighted to be awarded academy status. It would remove us from Essex County Council’s authority and would mean our future would be secure. After the way we have been treated, that would be good news indeed.

“We have put forward our best possible case and, with the tremendous support we have had from the community, we feel we have a chance.

“Off the back of a very productive meeting with the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, we all have our fingers crossed for a good outcome.”

The school, in Daws Heath Road, is set to shut in August 2016 after Essex County Council’s Conservative cabinet said falling pupil numbers had made the school unviable.

Castle Point Council leader Pam Challis and Rebecca Harris MP have both said they were “very hopeful” the Department for Education will support the proposal, although said County Hall has done all it can to close the school.

Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris said: “We are hoping to get a decision from the department this week.

“The Deanes is a very good school but we have to hope Essex County Council’s decision to close it has not done enough damage to derail their chances of meeting the academy criteria.”