Cumbria

Anger over plan to close 16-pupil Captain Shaw's School in Cumbria

Plans to close a Cumbrian school which has just 16 pupils have been criticised by borough councillors.

Parents and staff are being consulted over plans to axe Captain Shaw's Primary School in Bootle and move pupils to nearby Waberthwaite School.

Cumbria County Council claims falling rolls means the school is not financially viable.

But the plan has been dismissed as "short-sighted" by an all-party group of Copeland Borough councillors.

A Cumbria County Council spokesman said: "We recognise the need to support small schools in rural communities, and provides an element of budget protection to schools with small rolls. But as numbers fall, it is inevitable that budgets will also reduce.

'Narrow-minded'

"Captain Shaw's currently has no permanent head teacher, the role being filled on a part-time basis by the substantive head of Seascale School.

"The other teaching staff currently employed at the school are on fixed-term contracts which are due to expire in August 2012.

"The county council feels the future of Captain Shaw's should be reviewed in light of these factors to ensure children in the area are offered the best possible educational opportunities."

But Keith Hitchen, ward councillor for Bootle with Copeland Borough Council, said: "The people of Bootle are angry and dismayed at the proposed closure of the school, which is a thriving community hub at the heart of the village.

"Whilst pupil numbers have decreased, work is taking place to build new homes in the village and to extend the range of facilities on offer.

"This announcement is short-sighted and narrow-minded. We urge the county council to support our work to improve the locality and reconsider their awful decision."

Waberthwaite School currently has 38 pupils.

A decision on the closure plan is due to be made in early-2012.

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