Public meeting to defend school against closure
Earlier this year, Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) took the decision to close Shelton Lower School. This followed a council investigation which found that falling pupil numbers meant the school was not financially viable.
Around 30 parents, supporters and children squeezed into the school’s hall today to explain why Shelton Lower should not be closed.
The public meeting was held as the schools adjudicator, Mrs Ann Talboys, had received an appeal against CBC’s decision from the Vale of Marston School’s Trust.
Supporters for the school told Mrs Talboys that Shelton Lower is a “fantastic, value-based school”, and that the mixed classroom environment helped to develop “future leaders”.
Others accused CBC of using “misleading figures” that “scared” prospective parents away from the “loving, caring and understanding school”.
There are four possible appeal outcomes
A schools adjudicator’s options are to:
- Reject the proposal to close the school which will mean that it does not close
- Approve the proposal to close without modification
- Approve the proposal with modification, after consulting as specified in the relevant legislation
- Give approval, conditional upon the occurrence by a set date of one or more events specified in regulations
Mrs Talboys closed the meeting by saying that she had raised concerns with CBC about its processes, which included the projected numbers and budget.
She also added that more comments, both for, and against, the closure are still welcome. They can be sent to Mrs Lisa Short, the case manager, via email
A simple announcement on her decision is expected be made public in around two weeks. This will be followed by a comprehensive report.