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Parents pledge to appeal Burnholme closure decision
PARENTS fighting the closure of a York secondary school have vowed to appeal City of York Council’s decision to push ahead with plans.
At an emotional meeting on Tuesday, attended by parents, governors and pupils from Burnholme Community College, the cabinet decided to start the phased closure of the school.
A report before the meeting at the Burnholme Social Club said the pressure on school budgets had increased in the last three years, and fewer than 300 students currently attend the school, which can accommodate 600.
People now have six weeks to make observations and comments about the decision before a decision is made over whether to proceed with the proposals.
Campaigners have vowed to make their voices heard during that period.
Darren Whittaker, parent of a year ten pupil at Burnholme, said he was deeply disappointed by the meeting as he felt the process had been undemocratic with the decision made before any debate was held.
He questioned the long-term wisdom of the decision as he said a York Educational Partnership Board meeting had suggested there would be too few secondary school places in York in 2017.
“Burnholme is equal to any of the perceived ‘higher value schools’ in York. The way Burnholme nurtures children and makes them flourish in their environment is fantastic - with both of my children going through Burnholme I can vouch for that. It is a fantastic school. I feel so strongly about how good the school is that I am prepared to fight the closure.”
Adrian Fisher, of the Parents’ Action Group, which said it will make representations against the decision, spoke of the positive impact the school has at the heart of the community and questioned what would happen to the site if the school were to be shut.
He said: ”This Labour cabinet...can show the far-sighted commitment that they publicly profess to have for troubled and challenged communities in York. Or they can make a strategic error based on incomplete and inadequate analysis and a bad and largely non-existent plan.”
Speaking at the meeting, council leader James Alexander said the decision was clearly an emotive issue, and called it a very difficult decision, probably the most difficult in his political career.
The school is due to close by 2014, when the 172 students in years nine, ten have completed their education. The 114 students in the current year eight and seven will move to new schools in 2013 and 2014 to start their GCSE courses at neighbouring schools.