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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 January 2008, 20:38 GMT
Closure threat schools revealed
Young campaigners in Buildwas

Twenty two primary schools are facing closure in Shropshire under plans revealed by education officials.

Most are small village schools with fewer than 90 pupils. Sixteen other schools are recommended for merger as part of the major reorganisation.

Council leaders claim radical change is needed because of declining pupil numbers and money pressures.

More than 1,300 pupils could now face much longer journeys to school under the plans.

Falling pupil numbers mean that 25% of all primary school places could be vacant by 2012, equating to 5,450 empty seats, according to council figures.

The schools under threat and the others proposed for amalgamation account for 7.4% of the primary school population in the county excluding Telford. There are 141 primary schools under the council's jurisdiction.

Parents and pupils in Buildwas have been gathering outside their schools to protest about the proposals.

Church leaders have also criticised the plans and claimed they would harm village communities.

Proposed school closures
Adderley
Barrow
Beckbury
Buildwas
Cheswardine
Church Preen
Dorrington
Farlow
Hope
Hopton Wafers
Kinlet
Maesbury
Moreton Say
Morville
Myddle
Nesscliffe St Andrews
Onny
Rushbury
Selattyn
Tilstock
Welshampton
Weston Lullingfields

It is thought the closures would save about 733,000 in the first year and 1.8m in the second.

A public consultation will take place from 4 February to 18 April with a final decision taken in July.

Changes will come into effect in September 2009.

Councillor Ann Hartley, cabinet member for schools, said: "This isn't a sticking plaster policy, this is something looking at the long term future of Shropshire education."

The Dioceses of Hereford and Lichfield, which runs many of the church schools earmarked for closure, has strongly criticised the proposals.

The Bishop of Ludlow, the Rt Rev Michael Hooper, said: "Some of the schools which are set for closure have some of the best results in the county but will be penalised just because they are small.

"The closure of a school will have a drastic affect on village life and we need to be sensitive to that."

The Rt Rev Dr Alan Smith, Bishop of Shrewsbury, said: "The closure plan represents a narrow view of education which is simply concerned with tests, exams and ticking boxes."

Schools which could merge are: Ashford Carbonell and Caynham, Lydbury North and Clunbury and Oakland and Longmeadow.

In addition there are proposals to amalgamate separate infant and junior schools at Mount Pleasant, the Grange, Meole Brace, Springfield, Oswestry infants and Beech Grove juniors.

Map detailing areas where schools are under threat



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
A head teacher criticises closure plans.


Shrposhire council say pupil numbers are falling



SEE ALSO
Schools review list is drawn up
19 Dec 07 |  Shropshire
Schools shake-up plans approved
14 Dec 07 |  Shropshire
Primary schools shake-up agreed
28 Nov 07 |  Shropshire
Hundreds respond to schools study
21 Nov 07 |  Shropshire
Cash threat sparks schools review
19 Sep 07 |  Shropshire

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