Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Wednesday, 8 July 2009 10:02 UK

Protest over school closures plan


Parents and officials discuss the merits of closing three primary schools in Medway

About 100 parents, pupils and staff will demonstrate outside Downing Street about plans to shut three primary schools in Medway.

St Peter's Infants in Rochester and Ridge Meadow and St John's Infants, both in Chatham, could be shut to lower the area's number of surplus places.

Parents said the closures would have a detrimental effect on the whole area and were stepping up their campaign.

Medway Council said a consultation on the plans would run until 22 July.

Under the plans the schools would close in August 2010.

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

We may be a small schools but we have a big voices and we will be heard
Samantha Whittington

After a demonstration in Whitehall one child and parent from each school that faces closure will hand in a 12,000 signature petition to 10 Downing Street, accompanied by Jonathan Shaw, the Labour MP for Chatham and Aylesford, on Wednesday.

Samantha Whittington, campaigner and parent, said: "We need to step up our campaigns. We have marched to Medway Council, gone to their sham meetings and we have been dismissed every time.

"By organising a joint school visit to Downing Street we hope that Medway Council will take notice of our concerns and will be embarrassed into saving our schools.

"We may be a small schools but we have a big voices and we will be heard."

Hundreds of people have attended public meetings on the proposals to reorganise the primary schools.

Parents from St John's Infants, Chatham, handed a 4,000 signature petition into Downing Street in June.

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

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