Plans to close two schools

TWO out of three primary schools in Macclesfield South should close, say councillors.

Members of Macclesfield’s community and resources policy development committee are sending a recommendation to next Wednesday’s (October 15) cabinet meeting that St Edward’s Catholic Primary School and St Barnabas CE Primary School should close next July so that a new joint church school can open in September 2009 on the St Edward’s site.

This is in line with Cheshire County Council’s proposals under its Transforming Learning Communities (TLC) policy.

But members oppose the county’s proposal for the closure of Ash Grove Primary School and Nursery. Half a dozen reasons for not closing the school will go before cabinet next week.

* Ivy Bank is the only school within walking distance and the journey would involve crossing a busy main road and junction.

* Ash Grove has a key role in a community which has a high level of social disadvantage.

* The school should be retained to give parents in the area a non-faith school option.

* Increased house building in the Moss Lane area could increase future demand for school places.

* The on-site children’s centre needs a school next to it.

* Overall surplus capacity in the area would not be addressed by the creation of the new school.

Cabinet’s recommendations go to the county council’s school planning select panel on October 13. If the panel recommends closure of the three schools, and this is then approved by the children’s services executive (November 12), formal notices proposing closure will be published and displayed at the schools. This will be followed by six weeks for objections and comments to be made.

In the new year, the county’s executive will make its final decision.

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