Letter: Closure of village schools in Warwickshire

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your education correspondent Fran Abrams rehearses Warwickshire County Council's case for closure of village schools ('Class warfare', 26 October).

She might have looked more independently at the very important issues that arise from the authority's proposals.

An analysis of the future requirement for school places in south Warwickshire shows that there will not be the surplus that Warwickshire projects. Moreover, the cost of the proposed reorganisation would be massive. The proposals have been formulated so that the cost will fall on the taxpayer rather than on Warwickshire, but it does not follow that they are in the best interests of the people of Warwickshire.

The council is proposing to close popular and successful schools, where numbers of pupils have been rapidly rising. There is no evidence that relatively small schools are unable to provide as good an education as larger schools. Parental choice ought as far as possible to be a reality. To close village schools is to rip the heart out of local communities.

Schools under threat are appealing to the Secretary of State, and they are making a powerful case to be allowed to survive. The question of whether schools that have voted for grant-maintained status should be allowed to have it is a separate issue.

Yours faithfully, ALAN HOWARTH MP for Stratford-upon-Avon (Con) House of Commons London, SW1 27 October