Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/455/5556
The Socialist 21 September 2006 |
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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."