Letter: School closures, but improvements too

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The Independent Online
Sir: The letters (7 and 11 October) you have published concerning Warwickshire's school reorganisation strategy highlight a range of important issues concerning rural communities and why or how these should be given special support and protection.

Without a doubt, our proposed school closures and mergers have revealed a vast array of wider social and economic issues beyond the particularities of schools. However, it shoud be borne in mind that we are planning growth and improvements in 17 village schools compared to 12 closures. In half of the latter, there is another village school nearer to the homes of the majority of children concerned. We have also come to recognise an essential difference between a village school and a school in a village. In the latter case, a significant majority of the children are driven to school by their parents from quite distant places. A village school, by contrast, serves its village community with the vast majority of children walking to school; these we are seeking to retain and improve.

Lastly, we are not in the business of 'targetting' village schools, still less of ignoring parental preferences and educational quality.

Successful schools depend on effective leadership and a skilled, committed staff. We are fortunate that in towns and villages across our county we have more than our fair share of these. We will have as many, or more, following reorganisation, because human skill and dedication exist and flourish irrespective of site or location.

Yours faithfully,

JOHN AIREY

Chair of Education Committee

Warwickshire County Council

Warwick

12 October

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