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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 07:49 GMT 08:49 UK
Bullying fear over school closure
Pupils at Northcourt Primary School
Some of Northcourt's 63 pupils have still to find another school
Parents at a failing school due to close in six weeks say their children could be bullied if they move to another school.

The decision to shut Northcourt Primary School in Gravesend was announced just before the start of the autumn term.

The school, which has been placed in special measures twice in four years, will close its doors for the last time on 31 October.

Many of its 63 pupils are still without an alternative place to go.

Parents are now worried that the children will be bullied because it's two different communities
Patricia Harman, parent governor

And parents fear their children face a greater risk of being bullied because they will be leaving their close-knit community.

Parent governor Patricia Harman, whose son is a pupil at Northcourt, said she was concerned children moving to the nearby Westcourt School could suffer.

She said: "If you've got children from Westcourt and Northcourt estate, parents are now worried that the children will be bullied because it's two different communities.

"They are tending to go to other schools out of the area."

Historic rivalry

But Jean Everest, head teacher of Westcourt School, said she had already taken nine pupils from Northcourt and had seen no evidence of any trouble.

She said: "I've spoken to some of our parents and they certainly don't feel there's any rivalry.

"I think it's historic - I think it goes back a long way and there's no reason why the children from Northcourt shouldn't come to Westcourt."

Northcourt Primary was first threatened with closure four years ago after it was placed in special measures, but a schools adjudicator, appointed by the government, overturned that decision.

But the school was put into special measures for a second time in October 2002 after a scathing Ofsted inspection.

Kent County Council says pupils have the choice of 16 alternative schools within a two-mile radius, none of which are failing.

Schools move closer to closure
10 Mar 03  |  England

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