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Parents fight school cuts
EARLIER THIS year Gates-head's Labour-controlled council announced plans to close three local schools, Tyne View, Windmill Hills and Lindisfarne primaries. Parents from all the schools are enraged at the lack of consultation. Tyne View parents won a temporary reprieve, with the decision deferred to the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).
Elaine Brunskill Gateshead
Parents then invited local Labour councillors to their Save Our Schools meeting - shamefully none of them turned up! Saira Munro, whose daughter attends Tyne View school, explained how parents were prepared to discuss a merger with Windmill Hill School, on either site. However, the council just wouldn't listen.
New Labour claims to want to give more choice to parents from "low socio-economic groups". Tyne View's Ofsted report says the school is in a "socially disadvantaged area" and that: "70% of pupils are entitled to free school meals, well above the national average".
Parents such as Lynn Purvis would certainly prefer to have more choice in the matter. Her eight year old son has cerebral palsy. Lynn explained: "Tyne View school offers excellent care, and loads of support. He doesn't get bullied over his disabilities, because everyone has known him from nursery."
When Lynn voiced her concerns to Gateshead council they told her they couldn't guarantee mainstream education, and suggested the only option may be a special school. So much for parental choice!
Dianne Barras and other parents argued that the school is the heart of the community, and if it closes it will tear the community apart. Gateshead council say the decision is now in the DfES' hands and there is nothing parents can do about it.
However, the parents at the meeting aren't giving in that easily. As parent Janice Trowal concluded, "Until they close the gate - there's always a chance."
In The Socialist 21 September 2006:
War and occupation
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth and Education
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis