June 17, 2008

Parents to Renew Fight to Save School From Closure


TWENTY-SIX years after they tried to shut down Croxteth Comprehensive, parents have once again vowed to fight to save the school from closure.

More than 300 parents have attended a briefing about plans to close the school in 2010.

The mixed sex school is scheduled to close under proposals revealed as part of a pounds 400m city-wide makeover of secondary schools.

Liverpool City Council intends to use Building Schools for the Future funding to invest in St John Bosco Arts College, which will admit non-Catholic girls.

De La Salle Catholic Humanities College has also been earmarked to close, with a new pounds 20m academy being built on site. The new super school is being hailed as an opportunity to unite boys in the Croxteth and Norris Green neighbourhoods.

Croxteth councillor Rose Bailey, who also sits as vice chair of governors at Croxteth Comprehensive, said the plans had come as a shock to worried parents.

Cllr Bailey said: "These come just after plans for a new campus site have been approved and a new building for Croxteth Primary, one of our main feeder schools. The council is using social cohesion as an argument, but we already have social cohesion within the schoo - 181 of our boys are from Norris Green and 171 from Croxteth and we don't have any more problems than any other school.

"No-one is against pounds 400m coming into the city, but the timescale puts the project in jeopardy and pushes things to the limit. We have a good, safe school and pupils get great support from staff and excellent life skills. We will do everything we can to save the school, which provides adult education and extra- curricular activities which will be lost in an area which needs it."

Cllr Bailey said some parents are expected to attend the city council's education and skills select committee on Thursday to hear discussions on the plans. It is the second time they have battled plans to close the school. In the 1980s, parents and residents staged a mass sit-in and pop group UB40 played at the school, after then education secretary Sir Keith Joseph said the school must close. Three months later, it re-opened with rebel teachers and parents before returning to council control.

Consultation meetings take place at John Bosco at 6.30pm on June 26; Croxteth High at 7.15pm on July 2 and De La Salle at 7pm on July 8.

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