Fight to halt primary school closure takes to the streets

A HEADTEACHER has criticised what he has branded a “morally bankrupt” proposal to close a popular primary school.

Headteacher Paul Johnston, who is retiring at Easter, spoke as hundreds of marchers descended on County Hall, Beverley to hand in a 3,000-name petition against closing Dunswell Primary School.

East Riding Council has pointed to changes in the national funding formula, a recent Ofsted inspection, which said the school needed improvement, Mr Johnston’s retirement and a new school opening on Kingswood nearby, among reasons for considering closure. Three-quarters of the school’s 88 pupils come from outside its catchment.

But Mr Johnston said Dunswell was among just a third of schools locally which were oversubscribed, 31 had fewer pupils and 39 had higher costs per pupil. He claimed the local authority were using the opportunity presented by his retirement to avoid paying redundancy costs, adding: “They can’t explain the rationale for closing the school. I think it is morally bankrupt when they are picking schools as and when headteachers are choosing to retire.” Another large turn out is expected on March 14 when a consultation event is held at the village hall. Campaigner Julie Reed said: “We have definitely got our message over. They have to listen.”