Ifton Heath School closure consultation starts

A six-week consultation period has begun over plans to close Ifton Heath Primary School in north Shropshire.

Shropshire Council want to merge the school with nearby Rhyn Park Secondary creating an all-through school in St Martins.

The chairman of the governors of Ifton Heath, Julian Cattley, said the plans were under-resourced and the children would lose space.

He said the governors wanted to apply for academy status.

Mr Cattley said the governors were angry and frustrated by the proposal to close the school.

"We were suddenly told that we would simply be moved over there, lock stock and barrel. We are concerned that there is an awful lot that is good about our school that we have potentially to use," he said.

Lack of space

He said they had looked at all-through schools in other parts of the country and had noted that a lot of money had been spent on them.

"The issue we have here is that there is neither monetary commitment or the will on the part of the council to commit any serious resources to this project," he said.

The head teacher at Ifton Heath, Nicola Bradley said she was concerned about the lack of space for the children at Rhyn Park.

"We have superb grounds with a forest school for the foundation stage children, a vast playing field and a hard area for the older children to play on. There simply isn't room for all of those things at Rhyn Park," she said.

Low morale

Ms Bradley said there was already collaboration between the two schools and this could continue without the need for them to share a site.

The uncertainty had affected both staff and children, she said.

"Morale has been very low. It's been very difficult to keep people bubbling along. Some of the older pupils have been very concerned about the thought that their school is going to close," she said.

She confirmed that the school would be applying for academy status.

"The governing body already agreed at the end of last term that's the route we would take and will consult publicly in September."

In a statement, Shropshire Council urged people to take part in the consultation and submit representations on the proposal.

"All representations will be considered and we will continue to work with the schools and the local community before the final decision is taken later this year," the statement concluded.

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