June 20, 2008

Council Urged to Rethink Plans to Shut Down School


ANGRY parents and pupils armed with banners and petitions protested outside a city council meeting last night against plans to close Croxteth Community Comprehensive School (CCC).

Members of the newly formed Parents Against Closure (PAC) gathered at the back of the Education and Skills Select Committee to hear the reasons behind the move.

The mixed sex school has been earmarked for closure as part of a pounds 400m city-wide makeover of secondary schools.

The council intends to shut CCC in 2010 and invest in St John Bosco Arts College, which will admit non-Catholic girls.

De La Salle Catholic Humanities has also been listed for closure, with a new pounds 20m boys academy being built on site.

A council review of secondary provision in Croxteth, Norris Green and Clubmoor found falling school rolls and predictions for only 250 new pupils each year could not sustain the three current schools.

The council also points to the success of St John Bosco, which is oversubscribed compared with De La Salle and CCC which are under- subscribed - with CCC predicted to have over 70% surplus places by 2012.

The 2010 deadline coincides with a government requirement for all schools to reach at least a 30% pass rate in grades A*-C or be closed, with GCSE attainment in Croxteth falling below this target.

Addressing the meeting, Nicky Madden, spokesperson for PAC, said: "We're deeply concerned about the proposals and would urge you to offer our children equality of choice with a non-faith school."

Labelling the plans "complete lunacy", PAC argues their children are entitled to a good non-faith school within walking distance of their homes.

They also blame a negative media representation of the area for steering families without children already at the school to find alternative provision.

The headteacher of CCC, Richard Baker, said the school was a safe happy environment for pupils which had been praised in a 2007 Ofsted report.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Baker spoke of the "radical" and "visionary" plans the school put forward in early consultations.

Cllr Keith Turner, executive member for education and skills said: "We will listen to people, we haven't got a closed mind, and we will work towards the best solution for all."

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