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Kingfisher and Bosworth Wood schools battle to beat closure

PLANS being considered by Solihull Council have cast doubt over the future of two local primary schools.

school protest

PLANS being considered by Solihull Council have cast doubt over the future of two local primary schools.

Either Kingfisher or Bosworth Wood primary could be forced to close under proposals put forward by education chiefs. One option being considered would see both premises shut down.

On Monday evening, crowds of angry parents gathered outside the council house and urged councillors to save their schools.

According to a report by the local authority, both primarys have been hit by a drop in the number of pupils. This in turn has led to mixed-aged classes and staff reductions.

The document suggests that maintaining only one of the schools would save £200,000 every year.

But the options being considered have appalled local people. Among those to speak at this week's cabinet meeting was Pauline Hislop - the grandmother and guardian of a Kingfisher pupil.

She said: "I cannot believe that the council, at this late stage, after getting all the children's hopes up, can even consider letting them down so badly. It's cruel.

"What you have taught our children this week is that adults let you down and it is unwise to believe or trust anyone."

In recent times, pupils at Kingfisher have helped to plan a new £7m building - due to open in January. If Kingfisher was the school earmarked for closure, the building at North Arran Way would probably become the new home of Bosworth Wood instead.

Susan Vyvyan, headteacher at Kingfisher, said that closing the school now would be "a complete betrayal".

"Any decision to proceed with these proposals will have a devastating effect on an already fragile community," she explained.

Susan Fletcher, a voluntary helper at Bosworth Wood, told the meeting that it was important for both schools to work together no matter what the outcome.

Councillor Ken Meeson, cabinet member for education, children and young people, said: "We will begin a consultation process, but it's very important that people give us their views."

Members of the department's scrutiny board will review the report at their meeting on October 2 and report back to Cllr Meeson.

THE headteacher of a school which fought and won its battle to stay open has told parents in north Solihull "not to give up".

Malcolm Ellis resisted plans to close down St James' CofE School in Shirley. The Halifax Road school was scheduled to shut in December 2006 because of a low pupil roll, but an independent adjudicator overturned the council's decision.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Ellis said: "Here we are, still open and moving forward. It's always worth carrying on if you are convinced, as we were, that the school has a future.

"At the moment we are celebrating 175 years since we were built and reviewing the fabric of the building. I would encourage people who were in our position to argue their points fairly but firmly and remember there is always hope."



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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