Page last updated at 08:28 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 09:28 UK

School closure proposals leaked

Parents have expressed their anger about the school closures plan

Three primary schools in Medway could be closed and four others merged to reduce the number of surplus places in the area, according to leaked plans.

St Peter's Infants, Rochester, Ridge Meadow, Chatham, and St John's Infants, Chatham, could be shut, a report given to BBC South East Today has revealed.

Delce Infants and All Faiths Primary, Swingate Infants and Lordswood Infants could also be merged.

Medway Council said plans for primary schools would go out to consultation.

The report which was leaked by Labour councillors said the re-organisation would help raise standards.

'Hidden gem'

The document talks of aiming to "eliminate" the schools that are judged, through Ofsted inspections to be "inadequate".

Parents of children at St Peter's Infants in Rochester said the school was a "hidden gem" and its closure would have a detrimental affect on the whole area.

Previously the Conservative-run Medway Council pointed out that of the five school amalgamations that have taken place since 2002, four have shown improvements.

A spokesman for Medway Council said: "Medway Council has a moral responsibility and duty to school leaders and their staff team, parents and pupils to let them know about our proposals from us.

"We are sorry that staff, parents and pupils are hearing a partial story through the media first - that was not the council's intention.

"These are proposals for primary schools across Medway, which will go to Cabinet in mid May and then will go out for widespread consultation."

'No alternative'

Labour councillor Teresa Murray said: "They're on a secret list that nobody in my community or parents or children at the school know about and that concerns me a lot because their opinions matter.

"Secondly I want St Peter's school to stay open. It's a good school, it's been in this community for over 100 years.

"It serves a good purpose, had a lot of investment it has got an excellent Ofsted report and I don't want people in my community to lose this school."

Liberal Democrat leader Geoff Juby said: "I don't necessarily think it's the right move. What I would actually like to do is see smaller class sizes across the whole of the UK.

"Unfortunately that is not what the law of the UK stands for at the moment. So in the present situation I can't see any alternative other than doing something similar to what they are proposing."



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