‘David and Goliath’ school is set to close
9:20am Tuesday 15th January 2013 in News
A SCHOOL which fought a “David and Goliath” battle for survival is to close.
St George’s RC School in Walkden will shut in August, 2014 — five years after campaigners successfully overturned Salford Council’s controversial proposals to close the school.
But now a letter been sent to parents by the governing body of St George’s talks about the “difficult and important decision” it had been forced to make “reluctantly”.
By September, 2014, St George’s pupils will have been transferred to St Ambrose Barlow High School, about four miles away in Swinton, with some being moved there this September.
The school will close for good in August next year.
The letter added: “There are not sufficient funds for a rebuild of St George’s or a satisfactory refurbishment.
“The Governors can see other pupils in Salford having the opportunity of being taught in first class, state-of-the-art facilities, which are not being made available to our pupils.
“Our campaign was always to get the best possible educational opportunities for our pupils.
“In the absence of the investment required to achieve this, the opportunity of being part of an outstanding school which will have the best facilities possible is an offer we reluctantly felt we could not refuse because the alternative was to put at risk the education of our pupils, which is our priority.”
St George’s headteacher, Phil Harte, said he did not regret the fight by governors, staff, pupils and parents to save the school five years ago.
He added: “I want the best possible for the pupils at this school. This is the best possible option.
“No one could have predicted the current financial climate, but the battle to save the school has meant thousands of children have gone through and benefited from this school.”
But one local councillor claimed the school had been “starved into submission”.
Cllr Iain Lindley, for Walkden South, said: “This is sad and distressing news for the community. Salford’s Labour council have, in terms of funding, effectively starved the school into submission. I want to hear the views of parents, pupils and the wider community. There will be a consultation, and I will always support St George’s for as long as the community wants it to remain open.”
But Cllr John Merry, Salford council's spokesman for children's services, said: “All schools in Salford are funded using the same formula. The council has not influenced the decision made by the governors and the diocese to close the RC high school.”
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