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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Nine schools part of closure plan
Protest banner at the Ripple School
Ripple School recorded a CD to voice its opposition in 2004
A primary school in Kent which was saved from closure 18 months ago is under threat again.

The Ripple School, near Dover, is one of five schools earmarked for closure, while four more could be merged.

The county council said it needed to deal with the financial impact of falling pupil numbers across Kent.

But Dover and Deal MP Gwyn Prosser accused the Conservative-run local authority of ripping the heart out of his constituency's communities.

The Kent Primary Strategy aims to address an "unacceptable" number of surplus places in the county, starting with the Dover area, the council said.

The School Organisation Advisory Board will consider whether there should be a public consultation on the closure and amalgamation plans at a meeting on 19 April.

SCHOOLS WHICH COULD CLOSE
Ripple School
St Radigunds Community School
St Joseph's Catholic School
Langdon Primary School
Goodnestone CE Primary School
SCHOOLS WHICH COULD MERGE
Melbourne Community and The Powell School
South Deal and Mongeham
Staff, pupils and parents at Ripple School fought a long campaign to save it from closure in 2004 and also recorded a CD to voice their opposition.

Andy Roberts, chairman of the governors, attacked the latest move as "absolutely shameful".

"The gloves are off and the bloody nose that the local education authority got last time, they will get again," he declared.

Leyland Ridings, county council cabinet member for education, said: "It is a very small school and it costs on average 1,000 more per pupil to educate a pupil in a school that size, compared with the average for Kent as a whole.

Mr Ridings said the school currently had 41 pupils, but that there were only three families from Ripple who sent their children there.

Mr Roberts argued its popularity outside the immediate area showed "what a successful and special school" it is.

Parents of children at St Radigunds, Melbourne and South Deal schools have already held protests against the proposals.


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