Uproar over plans to merge primary schools

Earl of Dysart School, petition by parents.') (Front)L\R; Lisa West, Paula Abbott.
Earl of Dysart School, petition by parents.') (Front)L\R; Lisa West, Paula Abbott.
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ANGRY parents are fighting plans to group pupils of two primary schools into one and use the empty building for “enrichment and creative” activities.

News this week of the plan to move pupils from Earl of Dysart to Spitalgate at Easter has infuriated parents, who feel their choice of which school their children attend has been taken away.

They will “fight all the way” and have threatened to take their children out of West Grantham Academies Trust, which manages the primary schools, if the move goes ahead.

The trust’s CEO Trudy Brothwell says the move is an “adventurous” one which will allow pupils to try more activities.

But campaign leaders Lisa West and Paula Abbott disagree.

Lisa, 39, of Ambergate Walk, said: “We’re very upset about this. You don’t just uproot a whole school. This is about their welfare, life and education. They don’t want to move.”

Lisa’s daughter Lauren, 8, has even made her own petition and asked kids to sign it in the playground.

Lisa said: “If the kids are signing it off their own backs then that’s telling you something.”

Fuming parents gathered outside the school yesterday morning (Thursday).

Gary Abbott, 41, of Shaw Road, said: “They’re teaching decent size classes at Spitalgate now and now they’re going to pump all these kids down there. It will be overcrowded.”

Wife Paula, 43, added: “We will move our daughter from the school.”

Donna Barr, 31, of Clyde Court, added: “They’re taking our choice away from us and the children.”

When news broke on Wednesday, many pupils were upset.

Wendy Porter, 39, of Welland Court, said: “Seeing some of the older children coming out of school crying was heart-breaking. I’d say at least 90 per cent of parents don’t want the merge.”

The Earl of Dysart building will be used by all trust schools, including St Hugh’s and Charles Read in Corby Glen, for art, music, PE, gardening, outdoor learning and cookery, while Spitalgate will be used for the primary school core curriculum.

Trust CEO Mrs Brothwell said pupils will remain in the same class with the same teacher. Year 6 pupils will remain at The Earl of Dysart.

She added: “Spitalgate has the capacity to accommodate everyone.

“Because we are a trust we can be more adventurous and try new things. The whole feeling within the trust is that this is a positive opportunity.”

A parents’ meeting will be held at St Hugh’s at 6pm on Thursday to discuss the move.

l Are you angry about the plan? Or is it a positive move? E-mail: comment@granthamjournal.co.uk