Kirkbean School petition launched
Parent council seeking online support
A “Save Kirkbean Primary” petition has been launched by supporters of the 300-year-old school.
They insist the closure would be “devastating” to the close-knit rural community.
The online petition, created by parent council member Katy McIntosh, has racked up more than 500 signatures in a week.
They include a former head teacher and many past pupils who believe the school’s setting makes it too good to lose.
The council has started a consultation on the closure due to low pupil numbers.
It currently has 12 children attending classes and that is set to drop to 10 next year.
Mrs McIntosh said: “The threatened closure of our lovely country school would be potentially devastating for our close-knit rural community.
“It is surrounded by nature’s outdoor classroom such as forests, fields, agriculture and beaches used readily by teachers and pupils for a myriad of topics within the school curriculum.
“Also benefiting in our locale the RSPB Mersehead bird reserve, John Paul Jones museum and Southwick church which are great sources of information for young enquiring minds.”
The petition will be handed to the council’s children, young people and lifelong learning committee as part of the consultation process.
Mrs McIntosh, who has a daughter in P7, added: “It’s been quite impressive so far. We’ve had the support of a past head teacher and many pupils all around the world.”
Robert Bodell, who worked at the school for 24 years, posted a message online after signing the petition.
He said: “It was a privilege to serve Kirkbean Primary as its head teacher from 1982 until 2006 when I retired from my post.
“Consequently I have fond memories etched in my heart when I think of staff, parents, pupils and friends of the school. I therefore know first hand what this school means to a supportive community.
“Its catchment area is a fertile base for life long learning and as such should be retained for the benefit of future generations.”
Another former teacher Linda Wainwright said on Facebook: “This is dreadful news. I taught at this school for 16 years and it was a terrific school which always had tremendous backing from the parents and community.
“It should be saved from closure at all costs!”
One local dad signed the petition in the hope that his child will be able to attend Kirkbean Primary in the future.
After signing the petition posted on www.change.org, Nicholas Hunt said: “This is the school I want my three-year-old daughter to go to ... it is the school I went to and it is a disgrace to consider closing it.”
The first official consultation meetings were scheduled to take place yesterday afternoon and last night at Kirkbean and New Abbey schools respectively.
The process runs until Tuesday, October 3, with a final decision expected before the turn of the year.