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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Notice given to close school

A DEATH warrant is potentially just six weeks away for Cumbria’s smallest school.

Cumbria County Council has published a statutory notice of closure for Captain Shaw’s School in Bootle after a consultation into the school’s future.

The council has suggested closing the school and merging its catchment area with Waberthwaite School.

Councillor Sue Brown ‘called in’ the decision claiming the information the cabinet committee used was inaccurate – however this move was dismissed and the special scrutiny committee told disappointed parents a statutory notice would be issued again.

Issuing the notice triggers a six-week period for final representations to be submitted to the council before the April 12 cabinet decides whether to withdraw financial support for the school.

If this is the case then a notice of closure will be issued and the school will close on August 31.

The community has united against the proposed closure with hundreds of people staging a march through the village but so far they have failed to halt plans to close the school.

Abby Hardwick, parent governor at Captain Shaw’s said: “Obviously we will use the six-week period to lobby as hard and as widely as we can.

“We don’t want to do this just with county council but the wider community.

“We’re hoping to bring some pressure to the decision makers.”

MP for Copeland Jamie Reed pressed for a parliamentary debate on the future of small schools but was told there was no help available for Captain Shaw’s.

Parents and governors have said they are looking at the possibility of setting up an academy or free school in a bid to save the school.

The Reverend James Thomas, chairman of the school governors, said: “I’m sure we’ll be doing what we can to encourage the rest of the cabinet to visit.

“We have had Eddie Martin who enjoyed his visit and James Airey who said it was a different situation to that which had been portrayed.

“We would like to say that the open invitation for the cabinet to visit Captain Shaw’s is still open.”

A spokeswoman for Cumbria County Council said: “The notice period starts today and finishes in six weeks – which would be March 30.

“The decision will be going to Cabinet on April 12.”

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