We’ll fight to save school

Michelle Moore, who has children who attend Marshland Primary School, is pictured with daughter Sophie Disney, aged 12, who used to attend the school, which is set to close.
Michelle Moore, who has children who attend Marshland Primary School, is pictured with daughter Sophie Disney, aged 12, who used to attend the school, which is set to close.

ANGRY parents are fighting to save their children’s Doncaster school after education bosses drew up plans to shut it down.

Mayor Peter Davies is today due to be asked to give the go-ahead for the start of a consultation period which could see Marshland Primary School in Moorends closed down.

But concerned parents have launched a petition against the closure, and their ward councillor is furious that he and the other councillors have not been informed of the proposals by bosses at the council.

Doncaster Council says it proposes closing the school at the end of December because it is in special measures and has 135 surplus places. It could then merge with West Road Primary. But parents say it has not had enough time or support in turning itself around, and has been making satisfactory progress in its work to improve.

Kendra Bissell, the mother of a six-year-old pupil at the school who is among those campaigning to save it, said: “We have managed to get an awful lot of support in the last five or six days, and that is gathering momentum.

“I don’t believe the school has had enough time or support yet to get out of special measures, and I certainly don’t believe it is a failing school.

“Is this a number crunching exercise? It seems little care has been given to both the long and short term effects upon the community as a whole, and the irreparable damage of the already fast diminishing infrastructure of Moorends.

“Instead of assisting and supporting the school in its endeavour to improve, the approach of the local authority seems to be looking to save money by stripping vital local amenities - again - in an area already in decline.” Another mum, Michelle Moore, said: “I cannot think of a worse thing than Marshland Primary and West Road merging. It will turn into everything that I didn’t want for my child - bigger classes, meaning less individual time for all students.”

So far, 93 people have signed an online petition against the closure, while hundreds more have put their names to a paper version which is circulating around Moorends, say campaigners.

The plans put forward by the council would see pupils from Marshland sent to an extended West Road Primary School in Thorne, which is less than a quarter of a mile away.

West Road, which came out of special measures itself a few years ago, would grow from 340 places to 490.

But concerns have also been raised by parents of children at West Road Primary.

Dad Martin Hookway, who has a daughter there, said he is concerned about possible overcrowding if there is a merger. He said his daughter was already in a class of mixed age pupils.

Mr Hookway runs the Marshland Happy Days after-school club on the site, which serves pupils from all over Thorne and Moorends.

He said: “I think we are unlikely to be able to find a site of the quality we have at the moment if the school closes. That may mean we could not take as many children.”

Coun Joe Blackham, who represents Stainforth and Moorends, said: “There has been no dialogue with councillors over this. I’m annoyed we have not been briefed. There have been a number of concerns raised with me by parents.”

A council spokeswoman said the proposals were at an early stage and no decision had yet been made. There would be full consultation with schools, parents, councillors governing bodies and other interested parties.

A council report said Marshland Primary had a net capacity of 210 and in the January school census there were only 128 pupils on roll.