Letter: Class concerns in Warwickshire: why should rural communities lose out?

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The Independent Online
Sir: When is a surplus place not a surplus place ('County cuts to hit over 60 schools', 7 October)? To the Government and the Audit Commission, no doubt surplus places occur when the number of children in any class falls below the magic 30. This, they pronounce, should be 'rectified'. But to a discerning parent, 'surplus places' means small classes - a highly desirable factor in choosing a school.

Warwickshire's got it wrong. Instead of closing schools because of 'surplus places', they should be trumpeting out that their county prides itself on supporting smaller-than-average classes, with all the educational benefits that brings.

Those of us who live in rural areas also know that the population of children can fluctuate widely over 20 years; villages where schools were closed in the early Seventies through a similar short-sighted policy now have several busloads of children shipped out every day.

As for class size, the political party that dares to pledge itself to work towards classes of no more than 20 children for infants and 25 thereafter is on to a winner, not only with parents, but with all those who appreciate that more individual attention in the precious formative years of learning might reduce the huge bills for special needs later on. If Warwickshire's proposed action results in significantly larger classes, then the saving of pounds 4m may be largely illusory.

Yours faithfully,




7 October