Broad Oak Primary School parents vow to fight proposed closure
Parents at Broad Oak Primary school received the devastating news at the end of last week that their school is being considered for closure. East Sussex County Council have conducted a review of 62 rural schools and consider that the closure of the school would reduce the number of surplus places in the area and have a positive impact on other local schools and the provision they can make for all pupils. The school could potentially be shutting its doors for good by August 2020.
Stuart Gallimore, East Sussex County Council’s director for children’s services, said: “The council has a statutory duty to ensure that schools are in the right location, are of sufficient size, and are financially able to deliver a high quality education that meets the needs of their local community. We are committed to working in close partnership with schools, the dioceses and key partners to achieve this.
“I understand the enormity of these proposals for pupils and their parents, school staff and communities, but doing nothing will not alleviate the problems these schools face, and could lead to more widespread uncertainty and difficulties for other schools in the local area.”
This announcement has been met with dismay by the parents and the local community. Over 100 people, including Huw Merriman the local MP, Parish Councillors and a representative from Labour, attended last night’s public meeting to discuss the proposed closure. Huw Merriman asked for those who are concerned to email him with their thoughts on the proposed closure – firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also an online petition if you would like to register your opinion find out more SIGN HERE
Parents said they felt that Broad Oak Primary School has been going from strength to strength, and this year the school had its highest demand for 1st choice places; so although the school has capacity, parents have pointed out that with all the planned new developments it would be a regressive move to shut the school. The schools operates mixed year classes which is often the case in rural schools and they have worked hard to staff the school in the most cost effective manner without compromising education. They share their Headmistress with a Federation of schools including Dallington and Punnets Town.
Francesca, a mother with two children at the school explained: “My children have a phenomenal education at the school, my oldest is autistic and for her to have to leave at the end of year 5 would be devastating, I would have to consider home schooling, as she just wouldn’t cope with the upset. Both the alternative schools are several miles away and even if these schools have enough capacity to take on 80 children, which is doubtful, there are issues around safety and transport. We have to fight this and stand up for the right to chose our children’s education. What makes it worse is that the council have already written to parents suggesting they might like to change their first choice for 2019 September entry, which has caused panic among parents who don’t know what to do for the best. We are determined to carry on and ensure minimum disruption to our children’s education. I hope that they see sense at the meeting on Monday, June 24, and do not approve a consultation on school organisation changes including the Broad Oak Primary School. We await the result of that meeting before we decide where to take his campaign.”