Tears at school gates after closure plans announced

Contributed by editor on May 07, 2006 - 08:14 PM



Selsted school pupils and parents were stunned last week to hear that the school could face closure.

In a letter from the Board of Governers and an attached letter from Kent County Council (see bottom of article), the grim news was spelt out.

The Gazette had warned parents on April 25 of the plans (/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=2957), but it was not until Friday ( 5 May) that parents were officially told.

Secretary of the Friends of Selsted School (FSS) Sarah Redmond has contacted the Hawkinge Gazette.

She said that parents she had spoken to were fiercely against the closing of the school.

"I am devastated," she said: "Lots of us were in tears after the news broke . We are worried about what is going to happen to our children.

"They are happy at the school and moving them will be unsettling and their education will suffer as a result. Our children could find it hard to make new friends in much bigger schools.

"I would say that around 90% of children in the Densole Way and Canterbury Road area of Densole attend Selsted school. Parents chose to send their children to the village school because they want them to be taught in a smaller school.

"The FSS are going to fight to keep the school open, we have a good community spirit.

"We have nothing to lose and we are not prepared to roll over and die".

Denise and Keith Foord, who have a 6 year-old child at the school and a four year-old due to start in September are ready to fight the closure.

Denise said: "The first we knew about the closure plans was when our child brought home a letter on Friday. I am disgusted at the plans; they have only just had the roof rebuilt and a brand new sports hall was opened in 2004.

"We chose Selsted because we had heard good reports about the school and felt it would give our children a better start".

Keith said he thought it was "financial madness". 

"If they shut the school, they will sell it off and it will be gone forever.

"I will be fighting the closure plans and hope the Parish Council will give their backing".

Swingfield Parish Council Chairman Colin Tearle said that the Selsted school closure item is on the agenda of the next parish council meeting on Tuesday 30 May 2006. The meeting starting at 7.30pm  at Swingfield village hall will formulate the council's view prior to the public meeting on 14 June.

The parish council would welcome the views of parents and residents.