Thursday, 11 August 2022

School campaigners call for consultation to be called off

School campaigners call for consultation to be called off

CAMPAIGNERS have called for the threat of closure over Chiltern Edge School to be lifted.

It follows a meeting between officials and councillors from Oxfordshire County Council, the education authority, and neighbouring Reading Borough Council in Oxford last week.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the councils’ leaders Ian Hudspeth and Jo Lovelock said they would work together to find a solution to keep the school open.

Parents Charlie Holloway and Gemma Levy, who set up the Save Our Edge campaign, called for the consultation, which is due to finish on June 30, to be scrapped to end the uncertainty over the school’s future.

They said: “We believe that keeping the consultation running is placing unfair pressure on parents, students and teachers. Parents with children happy at the school are being pressured into removing their children under threat of closure against their wishes and staff are under pressure to look for other jobs for the benefit of their career.

“We accept the Ofsted report and already improvements have been made at Chiltern Edge. In addition, the new interim head is due to produce a full action plan after half-term to state exactly how the school will be improved.

“Given these facts, the strong local opposition and the presumption always against closure of a rural school we find it unacceptable that the council would continue with this consultation and cause the students the unnecessary stress and upset.

“The council’s time and effort would be much better spent helping the new interim executive board and interim head implement the improvements.” The councils say they are working with the regional schools commissioner Martin Post to try to find the school an academy sponsor as it is the only alternative to closure.

Councillor Hudspeth said: “We all want to find a solution that will enable the school to stay open. The key issue is how we can improve the education of children who live in both Oxfordshire and Reading.

“We’re well aware of the strength of feeling around this issue and the high regard in which the school is held by local families.”

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