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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 17:34 GMT
Parents protest at school switch
Flintshire county council
Flintshire council is under pressure from parents
Dozens of parents have staged a noisy protest at Mold County Hall against Flintshire council's plans to send their children to a different school.

The education authority wants pupils from Sandycroft CP School to be sent to John Summers' High School at Queensferry in future, rather than Hawarden High School.

Hawarden has become overcrowded since the development of housing estates in the area.

But parents of the pupils affected have protested, saying the route to Queensferry school is too dangerous for children to use.


We have built up a good reputation with Hawarden High School

Paul Wardle, protest spokesman
Flintshire council has yet to comment on the plans.

On Tuesday, an estimated 80 parents and children used the half-term holiday to express their opposition, by waving banners and calling for the plans to be halted.

The council's decision currently affects 18 Sandycroft students and letters have been sent to "astounded" parents.

Sandycroft Feeder Protection Committee chairman Paul Wardle explained pupils had attended Hawarden for more than 15 years.

But the council took action after new housing developments in the Hawarden and Ewloe areas meant Hawarden High School's roll was overstretched.

Philip McGreevy, Flintshire council chief executive
Philip McGreevy: Received protest letter
Pupils at Sandycroft now face considerable uncertainty as the merits of the council's plans were debated.

Children at Pentre and Mancot schools are also affected by the proposals.

"We have built up a good reputation with Hawarden High School but now they want our children to go along a very dangerous route to Queensferry," said Mr Wardle.

"Asda's expansion plans have already been kicked back because of the dangerous road system and is there is very dangerous under-pass which the children would have to use as well."

'Stark contrast'

Mr Wardle said parents had received a commitment from council leaders that there were no changes on the cards.

But the parents of 18 pupils have received letters explaining that their children will not be attending Hawarden this autumn.

Mr Wardle said: "This was in stark contradiction to promises made by the council leader and other representatives and has caused considerable anxiety.

A letter of protest about the "mock consultations" has been sent to Flintshire education director Keith McDonogh.

Copies of the letter have been sent to council leader Alex Aldridge and chief executive Phillip McGreevy.

The campaigners warned they have lost faith in the consultation procedure and they said they now want answers from the council.

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