Cllr Andrew Bingham Opposes Plan

Andrew Bingham, High Peak Borough Councillor and Conservative Parliamentary candidate for High Peak, was asked for his reaction to the proposed closure of Combs School. This is what he had to say.

"I find the proposals for the closure of Combs School unacceptable, badly conceived and illogical.

"The closure of an Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ school in the hope that it will in some way address a surplus places issue in an alternative lesser rated school seems somewhat ludicrous. When you consider the further consequences such a course of action the proposals become even more incredulous. Should the school be closed, then the displaced children would be highly unlikely to be placed into Chapel school where the surplus places problem exists. This is evidenced by the present arrangements whereby children leaving the present school do NOT go to Chapel school, instead preferring better performing schools such as Kettleshulme.

"The very survival of the building depends on its continued use by the school. If it were to close then the future of what is a valuable community asset will be thrown into serious doubt.

"The financial reasoning of DCC also holds little sway when subjected to further scrutiny. The savings amount to approximately £55,000. This figure can be further reduced when alternative transport figures are taken into account. Likewise, as the children are displaced to schools other than Chapel, the savings are eroded even further.

"In short, as DCC claim, the plans are only at consultation stage, I would urge them to use the consultation period to listen to the well reasoned arguments of the parents, residents and locally elected Councillors. Listen, respond and then realise that this plan, if implemented could deprive a local community of a valuable facility, parents of a choice in education, and more importantly, deprive many children of an excellent education and the best possible start to their school career.

"As an elected Borough Councillor representing the Chapel West Ward, and also as the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for the High Peak, I object to this proposal. I will obviously submit my more detailed thoughts to the County Council as part of the consultation process."