Council's claims 'are unjustified'

This article by Louise Bellicoso appeared in the Buxton Advertiser on 16 May.

GOVERNORS and parents have slammed the criteria put forward as reasons for the proposed closure of Combs Infant school.
Derbyshire County Council last week said that the cost of educating pupils at Combs Infant School and the fact that most pupils move on to Chapel-en-le-Frith Primary School were reasons for closure.

However, parents and governors of the school, which scored an outstanding report in its last Ofsted inspection, say the criteria are inaccurate and misleading.

Chair of governors Nye Rowlands said: "Derbyshire (county council) asserts that many pupils go on to study at Chapel Primary when they reach the age of seven. This is not true. We cannot find a single pupil who went on to Chapel Primary for the last eight years."

A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said the claim had since been removed from a report, which went before the authority's cabinet on Tuesday, but that they stood by the other criteria put forward.

Mr Rowlands also said that the county council's statement about 15 of the school's 25 pupils living outside the school catchment area was untrue.

"Nobody has yet said that defining the "catchment area" for a school is an exact science," he said.

"Arbitrary lines on a map drawn up by bureaucrats do not reflect parental choice or lines of transport.

"The report claims that 15 pupils do not come from the local area but it does not add that no pupil travels more than 2.5 miles to reach the school and that many of the pupils in and out of the local area travel less than two miles to reach the school. Many walk."

County councillors agreed to put the plans out to public consultation when they met during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and there will be a public meeting at the school next Tuesday at 6.30pm.