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School closure plan moves a step closer

MAJOR decisions on the future of Macclesfield primary schools – which leave four under threat of closure – have been made by Cheshire County Council.

MAJOR decisions on the future of Macclesfield primary schools – which leave four under threat of closure – have been made by Cheshire County Council.

Lead Member for Children’s Services, county councillor David Rowlands, gave the go-ahead for formal consultation at a meeting of the Children’s Services Executive at County Hall in Chester yesterday (Tuesday).

Recommendations by the School Planning Select Panel including the possible closure of Ash Grove Primary School, St Barnabas CE Primary School and St Edward’s RC Primary School in Macclesfield, and Bollington St John’s CE, were approved.

Mum Helen Susans, 28, with two of her three children currently pupils at Ash Grove – the latest school threatened with closure – said: "We are quite disappointed with the decision, especially with the lateness of it. We have not been given nearly the amount of time other schools had to prepare."

Helen, of Belgrave Road, Macclesfield, added: "We are a multi-faith school, a community school and an integral part of the community."

The panel also authorised public consultations for the closure of St John’s, with alternative places available at Bollington Cross CE Primary School.

Headteacher of Bollington Cross, Julie Downing, said: "We are very pleased with the meeting’s outcome and will continue to work hard to provide a good quality education and support all the pupils and families in the Bollington area."

The headteacher at Bollington St John’s was unavailable for comment. County Coun Sylvia Roberts, who represents Bollington, said: "It has been a very harrowing time, but once people accept that this is being done for the overall betterment of the town and the community, we can hopefully work together."

The panel authorised public consultation on the possible closures of Ash Grove, St Barnabas and St Edward’s to seek proposals to establish a new one-form entry primary school to serve south Macclesfield.

They also want to invite the Chester Diocesan Board of Education and the Diocese of Shrewsbury Education Service to discuss with CCC options on how the new school could work, and consult with the Diocese of Shrewsbury on whether St Edward’s premises could be used as the site.

CCC also want to hear parents’ views on the reduction of places at Ivy Bank Primary School from 378 to 315, with admission numbers reducing from 54 to 45 pupils.

It also recommended that places at Puss Bank be reduced from 420 to 315, with admission numbers decreased from 60 to 45 pupils. Original proposed reductions were to 210 places.

Because Bosley and Wincle schools are considering federation, they are no longer subjected to the same consultation process.

Consultations will be undertaken during the first half of the spring term 2008. As the Express went to press, headteachers at all the other schools were unavailable for comment.

 

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