Final plea to save popular St George’s RC School
6:40am Sunday 13th September 2009 in News
HUNDREDS of supporters have made a final impassioned plea against the closure of a popular school.
Parents, staff, former and current pupils, as well as members of the community, met with the schools adjudicator Canon Richard Lindley, urging him not to close St George’s RC High School in Walkden.
The final decision on the school’s future rests with Canon Lindley.
Since July, 2006, there has been a high-profile campaign against Salford City Council’s controversial proposals to shut the school — which this year celebrated top GCSE results and is oversubscribed — as part of a £180 million scheme to refurbish secondary schools under the building schools for the future (BSF) programme.
St George’s is the only school in Salford earmarked for closure.
Two meetings were held on Thursday giving supporters the chance to put their views across to the adjudicator.
The meetings attracted about 400 people and were the culmination of the campaign which has seen two large demonstrations organised by pupils and a number of visits to Westminster.
Speaking at the meeting, headteacher Phil Harte said: “To close St George’s RC would be like ripping the beating heart out of the community.”
Pupil Alice Freeman, aged 15, then told the adjudicator how the school had helped her develop.
Following the meeting, deputy headteacher Pete Fisher said: “I was able to get across the fact that no one would take responsibility for this proposal.
“Ministers said it was a local authority decision, council officers said it was the councillors’ decision and councillors said it was the officers’ recommendations which they followed.
“It was good to tell this to someone who had responsibility for the future of the school.”
He added: “Many people at the meeting felt this was the first time they were really listened to.
“It was a very emotional meeting where great support was shown for this school and no educational reasons to close it down given.
“The opportunity to put the case forward for St George’s RC was grasped with both hands.”
A decision on the future St George’s RC School will be made by the adjudicator in the coming month.