Page last updated at 20:50 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 21:50 UK

Anger at closure of two schools

"Save our school" banner at St John's Infants
Parents said they were devastated at the decision to shut two schools

Parents have said they are devastated after councillors voted to close two primary schools in Medway.

The local authority in Kent announced in April it was considering the future of three schools as it restructured education and reduced surplus places.

Thousands of people supported campaigns to keep all three, but St John's and Ridge Meadow schools will now close, while St Peter's will remain open.

One mother said she thought the process had been "a complete sham".

"I think this process was decided a long, long time ago," she told BBC Radio Kent.

Surplus places

Other parents at the schools facing closure, who were lobbying the council meeting in Chatham, said they were "livid and upset".

"I'd like to see all the councillors come and explain to all the children at the school why they're going to be split up from their friends," another mother said.

The closures are linked to government rules stating that schools should not have more than 25% surplus places.

According to Medway Council, at the beginning of 2009 St John's Infant School in Chatham had 27% surplus places, while St Peter's Infant School in Rochester had 30% and Ridge Meadow Primary School in Walderslade had almost 34%.

It's the hardest thing I think I've probably been involved in
Councillor Leslie Wicks

During the cabinet meeting on Thursday, the chair of governors from each school was given 15 minutes to make their case, followed by the opinions of councillors.

Other issues such as the quality of the school buildings and the potential to expand were also considered.

Councillors said the decision to keep St Peter's open was in part because the school roll had risen since closure was first considered, with an intake of 31 pupils at the start of the new school year.

Councillor Leslie Wicks, the cabinet member for children's services, said closing the schools was not a decision taken lightly.

"It's very hard. Everybody wants to keep schools open. Everybody remembers their own days at primary school with affection... it's the hardest thing I think I've probably been involved in."



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SEE ALSO
School fight goes to empty plinth
12 Sep 09 |  Kent
Protest over school closures plan
08 Jul 09 |  Kent
Petition over school closure plan
09 Jun 09 |  Kent
Anger over school closure plans
12 May 09 |  Kent
School closure proposals leaked
28 Apr 09 |  Kent

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