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

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article 'Counting the cost of parental choice' (7 October) argues that Gillian Shephard, the Secretary of State for Education, should not let Warwickshire primary schools opt out of council control to escape closure because 'run-down, poorly resourced, half-full schools are unlikely to serve their children well'.

This is exactly the argument held by opponents of Warwickshire County Council's plans to close more than 60 of its schools in favour of retaining the threatened schools. For instead of reducing surplus places by closing or reducing capacity at its unpopular, half-full schools, the council has targeted its smaller - but full - rural schools.

My children attend the threatened Dunnington School, a village school eight miles from Stratford with 92 pupils, no surplus places - and, indeed, a waiting list. The school has a reputation for the quality of its teaching which extends throughout the county.

The council plans a 'new school' to replace Dunnington and another equally full village school of similar size, two miles away at Salford Priors. Visions of a splendid new school building with new equipment and books for the two communities' children were short-lived.

This planned 'new' school is nothing more than the old one at Salford Priors under a new name, with the possibility of an extra classroom. The planned school has capacity for only two-thirds of the two schools' present pupils. Where the other pupils are to go, Warwickshire has made no suggestion. For this upheaval, Warwickshire predicts marginal cost savings.

With this scenario being repeated in communities throughout the county, it is small wonder that parents are up in arms and appealing for the minister to intervene and preserve good, full schools, providing high standards of education.

Yours faithfully,

TIM PRICE

Oversley Green, Warwickshire

7 October

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