July 16, 2008

Special Needs Pupils Could Save School

Governors fighting to save their school from the axe have drawn up plans to turn part of the site into a unit for special needs children.

They are trying to save Church Lawton Primary School, which is forecast to be only half full by 2012 because of falling pupil numbers.

Cheshire County Council wants to close the school and use the site as a new home for St Gabriel's Catholic Primary School in Alsager or children's services in the area.

But governors are fighting the plan and hope to fill their surplus capacity with a unit for special needs children.

Chairman of governors Bob Farrell said: "There has been an identified need for such a unit for children in East Cheshire and we have teaching staff at the school with expertise in special needs.

"The plans fit in with the Government's Every Child Matters agenda and it solves the problem of surplus capacity. We'll be putting up as much of a fight as we can to save the school."

The Friends of Church Lawton Primary School group has set up an online petition to try to stop the closure and gathered dozens of signatures.

Campaign committee member Pam Nichols said: "The school is at the heart of our community. The Senior Citizen's group relies on the school as it's the only meeting place open to them.

"The loss of the school won't just affect the children and their continued education but the whole community and put the identity of the village at risk."

Alsager School pupil Sally Putt, who was taught at Church Lawton, said: "I will do anything to help save my old primary school.

"I cannot believe the council is thinking of shutting it down. It is such a valuable and worthwhile school."

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