Parents in Fight to Save School

From today's issue of the Derbyshire Times.
Concerned parents have started a campaign to stop the closure of a school which they say has become the "heart" of their village.

Derbyshire County Council plans to shut Combs School in an attempt to fill surplus places in the county.

Officers claim that it costs £5,447 to educate each pupil compared to the Derbyshire average of £2,635 and said 15 pupils currently travel from outside the catchment area to be educated there.

But parents believe the school has become a vital part of Combs, which is near Buxton, as it also acts as a village hall and meeting place.

Parent Carah Boden said: "We are trying to keep the village alive as a community and this school is the heart."

She added that the primary school, which has 25 pupils, was rated as outstanding following a recent Ofsted inspection and provides the right community education for her children.

Mrs Boden added: "They are forcing us to go to a school which has lower standards of education than the children are enjoying at our school."

Other parental concerns include transport to and from other schools such as Chapel-en-le-Frith Primary.

More than 1,000 signatures have been gathered on a petition and parents have gained support from High Peak MP Tom Levitt.

Cllr Alan Charles, Derbyshire County Council's schools chief, said: "The issue of falling pupil numbers is a tough problem. There are no easy answers and we have looked at all the options."

Parents have until July 6 to object to the proposed closure. A decision is due to be made by the end of September.