Bat­tle to save ru­ral school

Macclesfield Express - - NOSTALGIA -

A FIGHT is on to save a 500-year-old ru­ral pri­mary school from clo­sure.

Pott Shrigley Church School has 25 pupils and op­er­ates in a fed­er­a­tion with Bolling­ton St John’s CE Pri­mary. It’s at the heart of vil­lage life, praised by par­ents for its qual­ity teach­ing and nur­tur­ing at­mos­phere.

But school gov­er­nors have claimed it’s no longer fi­nan­cially vi­able and have pro­posed that it should be amal­ga­mated with Bolling­ton St John’s.

Par­ents, vil­lagers and coun­cil­lors say the school – which they say is one of the coun­try’s old­est – is vi­tal to the com­mu­nity and have formed a cam­paign group.

Jane Naumkin, par­ent and chair­man of Save Pott Shrigley School (SPSS), said they will fight pro­pos­als so the con­sul­ta­tion does not hap­pen at all.

She said: “There are many rea­sons to keep the school open. It’s an out­stand­ing school at the heart of the com­mu­nity and we need more school places for all the houses being built. If we don’t save Pott Shrigley, soon we won’t have an in­take next year and our school will be gone for­ever.

“We hope this school will thrive well into the next 500 years and are call­ing on our com­mu­nity to join us.”

Pupil num­bers are down from 40 three years ago to a cur­rent to­tal of 25.

Chair of gov­er­nors and dad of two, Richard Loft­house, said: “One of the main is­sues is the gov­ern­ment’s new rules which say re­cep­tion pupils must have con­tin­ual ac­cess to out­door space, which we can’t do at Pott Shrigley.

“We get money for each pupil and num­bers are di­min­ish­ing. We in­her­ited a deficit of £90,000 from the pre­vi­ous board ear­lier this year and now it’s less than £20,000 but it’s still not vi­able.”

Melanie Walker, head­teacher, said: “The de­ci­sion to amal­ga­mate was not taken lightly by the gov­er­nors, but was taken with the chil­dren’s best in­ter­ests at heart. But this is not a done deal. The con­sul­ta­tion will be long and thor­ough process.”

The school dates back to 1492 when the Lord of the Manor gifted a build­ing for ed­u­ca­tion. In 1951 the build­ing was re­stored as a vil­lage hall and the trust which now runs the vil­lage hall leases it to the school.

Cheshire East leader Rachel Bai­ley has now ap­pointed a panel of coun­cil­lors to speak to stake­hold­ers and do a re­view be­fore a for­mal con­sul­ta­tion into the amal­ga­ma­tion is started.

She said: “To demon­strate our com­mit­ment to ru­ral schools we are set­ting up a cross-party panel of coun­cil­lors, led by coun­cil­lor Ge­orge Hayes, to en­able lo­cal stake­hold­ers to pro­vide us with their views.

“We’re plan­ning en­gage­ment ac­tiv­i­ties with com­mu­nity groups and the school, in­clud­ing teach­ing staff, par­ents and pupils of Pott Shrigley CofE, to un­der­stand the chal­lenges and op­tions, to en­sure sus­tain­able, high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion for chil­dren and to con­sider op­por­tu­ni­ties to mit­i­gate the im­pact on the com­mu­nity.”

Ed­wina Cur­rie open­ing the new Char­lie’s sand­wich shop and deli on Ch­ester­gate

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.