Parents vow to fight rural school closure

Out Rawcliffe Primary School has only 10 pupils. Below: Sandra O'Sullivan says parents are prepared to fight the closure ' as showed.
Out Rawcliffe Primary School has only 10 pupils. Below: Sandra O'Sullivan says parents are prepared to fight the closure ' as showed.
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A RURAL primary school is set for closure despite a desperate campaign from parents to keep it open.

Out Rawcliffe Primary School now has just 10 pupils – 60 fewer than it is built for – but parents have said they remain determined to fight the closure plan.

Lancashire County Council has issued a notice of its proposal to close the school on Crook Gate Lane with effect from August 2013.

The notice follows the first stage of consultation on the proposal which was revealed in May this year.

Responses from the community were considered by the council. A second consultation period has been opened to consider the implications with County Hall chiefs still intending to close the school.

Peter Raine, whose six-year-old daughter Rebecca attends the school, said: “Lancashire County Council and Blackburn Diocese were very supportive and said there were three things they could do to help the school’s future.

Parents are prepared to fight the school closure.

Parents are prepared to fight the school closure.

“They wanted signs of numbers going up, which we provided, to get community support, which we were overwhelmed by, and to take heed of OFSTED recommendations, which are being done.

“What was the point in us doing that if they’re still going forward with the proposal? I want to see a line by line refuting of our evidence.”

A report written by Lynn Mappin, Directorate for Children and Young People at Lancashire County Council, showed that 97 per cent of respondents to the consultation disagreed with closure.

Sandra O’Sullivan, whose seven-year-old daughter Lily is the fourth generation of her family to attend the school, said: “I’m saddened by it, my daughter is very upset.

“We’re going to look at other ways to fight it. We’ve got a meeting soon with all the parents.”

Families have questioned the logic of closing the school as a number of houses are due to be built in surrounding areas, potentially bringing in more pupils.

But the County Hall report says the developments of 15 houses in Pilling and 18 in Great Eccleston are not significant enough to impact on pupil numbers.

The report says in order for the school to remain open and financially viable it would have to operate with a part-time or shared headteacher.

The Council will be consulting with people in this second stage until November 19.

A County Hall spokesman said they were unable to comment on the matter at this stage in proceedings.

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