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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 08:07 GMT
Plans to shut four schools agreed
Pupils protest over planned school closures in Stoke-on-Trent
Pupils and parents have held many protests
Plans to close four high schools in Stoke-on-Trent have been approved.

City councillors agreed to close Trentham High, Berry Hill, Mitchell High and Longton High in the merger of eight schools into five academies.

A 230m programme of new buildings and refurbishment at Staffordshire schools was also given the go-head.

Parents have threatened to take legal action over the plans and protested outside the Civic Centre while the council's meeting took place.

Parents, teachers and pupils have held many protests over the plans - which are set to take place between 2009 and 2014.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council said the changes were because of the city's education was not up to standard, and because of declining pupil numbers and the poor condition of old school buildings.

The city's education service is run by the private company Serco.

It means eight schools - St Peter's, Mitchell, Berry Hill, James Brindley, Edensor, Trentham, Blurton and Brownhills - will merge into five academies.

And Longton High School will also be shut in phases, with plans for pupils to go to Sandon High School.

One parent, Julian Teed, who helped to organise the rally outside Tuesday's decision-making meeting, promised a "united front".

'Change needed'

Speaking while the meeting was being held, he said: "We fully intend to succeed if we can.

"We as different action groups are joining together as a united front in Stoke-on-Trent to try and fight this action. We will not let this just go down.

"We believe that all four schools that are up for closing offer fantastic educational opportunities for our children."

The portfolio holder for children and young people's services, councillor Ian McLaughlan, said it had to take "difficult decisions" following an "extensive consultation process".

"Everyone agrees the quality of education in this city has not been up to standard over the last few years, in fact going back generations," he said.

"So we have to change something."



SEE ALSO
Schools protest over merger plans
25 Feb 08 |  Staffordshire
Hundreds join protest over school
24 Feb 08 |  Staffordshire
Parents warned over school fight
22 Feb 08 |  Staffordshire
School closure 'disappoints' MP
09 Feb 08 |  Staffordshire
School shake-up results announced
08 Feb 08 |  Staffordshire

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