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Tears and anger as decision made to close Burnholme Community College in York
PARENTS and pupils from a York secondary school wept and protested as its fate was sealed at a council meeting last night.
More than 100 members of the public attended City of York Council's cabinet meeting last night, where the decision to close Burnholme Community College, the city’s smallest secondary school, was made.
A report before the cabinet meeting, which was held at the Burnholme Social Club, said the pressure on school budgets had increased in the last three years, and the school, which can accommodate 600 students, is currently attended by fewer than 300.
Council leader James Alexander said the decision was “clearly an emotive issue”, and called it “a very difficult decision, probably the most difficult decision I have taken in my political career”.
Staff, governors and parents spoke at the meeting, including Nicole Naismith, a student, who wept as she told the cabinet: “It seems like we’re all getting ignored, because it's just not fair.
“Everything’s from a political view, and you’re not thinking of us.
“We’re making a lot of progress, we’re doing better, but no one’s listening.”
The report said: “It would appear on balance that the interests of children and families across the city are best served by a phased closure. A proposal to close a school is not made lightly. It is a difficult time for students, parents, staff and governors at Burnholme Community College.
“However, and importantly, head teachers and governing bodies across the city have shown their full commitment and support in ensuring that the quality of education of students is maintained.”
An address to the meeting by Coun Janet Looker, cabinet member for education, was disrupted by pupils outside the building chanting “save Burnholme”.
Posters with messages including “you have not asked for our opinion so you don’t know what we think” were stuck to the windows.
Simon Gumn, the school’s head teacher, said: “I’m not surprised by the outcome.
“What does surprise me is the total lack of debate.
“Now we’ve got to make sure the students are not disadvantaged by this decision. It’s about making sure the students and parents get a good deal.”
The school is due to close completely by 2014.