Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

To not support my friends in their fight to save their dc's schools?

(47 Posts)
IwishIwasmoreorganised Sun 10-Feb-13 21:47:54

Our council are reviewing their education budget and are proposing to close 2 local primary schools. This is based on the fact that county wide, there are nearly 15% of primary places vacant.

Both schools are very small (less than one class per year I.e. some years are taught together) and very rural. They are both more or less full to capacity, but have a large proportion of children from out of their catchment area. Each has their own head teacher, caretaker etc and I can see that relatively they must be expensive to run (on a cost per pupil basis).

They are both successful schools and their latest estyn reports are excellent.

Friends are up arms about this as their dc attend, but they are not in catchment for these schools and have chosen them mainly as they are feeder schools for what they perceive as better comprehensive schools (which they aren't in catchment for either).

They are saying that it will rip the heart out of rural area, yet they all travel to these schools in their cars when they could walk to their catchment schools. I'm struggling to see their point with this argument tbh.

My dc have nothing to gain by these schools closing since I cannot see that the money saved will be distributed between the other schools.

Both schools have made facebook pages to gain support and my friends have added me to both. While I will not unfriend myself, AIBU in not being supportive to them in trying to keep these schools open?

HollyBerryBush Sun 10-Feb-13 21:51:39

Depends where you are perhaps, I'd be campaigning to keep a rural school open but - this astounded me - in a 5 mile radius of my front door, there are 1500 (not a typo) primary schools, excluding prep schools. So losing one or two of thsoe would#n't make a massive imact as pupils could be absorped easily elsewhere.

At the moment we are in a declining roll, although I believe school places needed are on the increase in 2015

treesntrees Sun 10-Feb-13 21:53:33

Would it be any skin off your nose to support them. I personally think all primary schools should be small but that is my opinion based on my own experience.

Lovelygoldboots Sun 10-Feb-13 21:59:26

There are two issues here. Yabu, in my opinion if you think that school closures will not be disastrous for a rural community. But you seem to be also questioning your friends motives for supporting keeping school open. It is up to you whether you support them but why wouldnt you? It effects your community. Not everyone who lives in a rural area has a car to transport their kids to school. I don't and I am rural. I walk with my kids.

SandStorm Sun 10-Feb-13 22:00:25

You say your DC have nothing to gain but if these schools do close, where will those children go? Will you suddenly find your DC's class sizes going up?

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sun 10-Feb-13 22:02:28

No, it wouldn't be any skin off my nose - except that I really don't have a lot of free time inbetween working, doing an evening class and looking after 2 dc while my DH works away a reasonable amount. I'm certainly not in a position to be going to the meeting that they're inviting me to.

The primary that our dc attend is small ie 1 class per year, but it is full of children from within catchment. Surely that's more of a community than these really small rural schools whose children are driven in from miles around?

I forgot to say that the feeder system that is currently operated is currently under review as well, so even if their schools do stay open it's unlikely that their dc would go the the secondary schools that they would do under the current system (which they perceive to be better than their catchment secondary schools).

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sun 10-Feb-13 22:05:18

My dc's school won't be affected at all. They are educated in a different language.

The affected children would be moved to schools that do have capacity - closer to home in the cases of my friends. I assume that the local authority would have to provide transport for those whose journeys are longer and above whatever the distance is that necessitates transport to be provided.

aldiwhore Sun 10-Feb-13 22:11:50

I do see your point, but I've seen many wonderful villages die and they cannot be replaced.

For what it's worth, our local council is considering cutting the school bus budget.

I would support them by adding a name to any petition if it's no skin of your nose, but you don't have to get actively involved with any campaign, that's your right.

Unless of course you think it's a fabbo idea, in which case, you should politely refuse and involvement.

Our rural communtiy has gone from being a fantastic mish mash of classes and age ranges, with a buzzing sense of community to commuterville in under 10 years. First the school closed, then the Church (which I never attended as not Practising Christian), then the shop and the pub is just about to go. Which leaves us with a village choked with Waitrose delivery vans and people who don't knwo each other at all. Words cannot describe how sad it is.

Lovelygoldboots Sun 10-Feb-13 22:16:57

If you don't want to commit then don't. Sometimes change in rural communities can be hard and emotions run high. Intrigued about another language. Gaelic?

idshagphilspencer Sun 10-Feb-13 22:24:17

Welsh?
smile

MummytoKatie Sun 10-Feb-13 22:30:17

"Sorry I can't make it but good luck - I'll be thinking of you all."

Sorted!

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sun 10-Feb-13 22:30:49

Yes, Welsh. smile

babanouche Sun 10-Feb-13 22:31:42

You don't have to go to any meetings - I shouldn't think you'd be expected to as your kids aren't at the school. But I think you should lend your support to your friends. Your virtual presence is a support. It should never be easy for councils to close schools.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sun 10-Feb-13 22:32:53

MummytoKatie. I think that's the tack I'm gong to take, but there's another month of consultation yet and judging by the amount of Facebook activity that's going on I'm a bit worried that won't be enough.

Lovelygoldboots Sun 10-Feb-13 22:33:43

Idshagphilspencer wins! Welsh is a beautiful language.

HollyBerryBush Sun 10-Feb-13 22:34:18

School closures are loss of jobs too - not just the teachers buit the support staff, TAs, IT techs, office stad#ff, cleaners, caretakers - schools are small villages in themselves really. Breaking up an established school can also affect relationships for the children. Their security blanket is taken away.

idshagphilspencer Sun 10-Feb-13 22:35:06

My Dc's are also in a school learning the language of heaven smile

MajesticWhine Sun 10-Feb-13 22:40:47

I think actually YANBU at all.
But out of interest, and because I'm nosey, what is your main objection to supporting them? Is it the prospect of saving taxpayers money? Is it an objection to their sense of entitlement to getting a better school than their local one? Is it the environmental cost of them driving their cars to school? The assumption that you give a damn about their DCs schooling? Or perhaps some other hidden reason that you're a little bit ticked off with them? Do tell.

Startail Sun 10-Feb-13 22:40:47

Wales, the whole of Welsh education is one great mess made far, far worse by the money wasted on Welsh medium education and the blackmail exerted on non Welsh speaking parents, in non Welsh speaking areas to send their DCs to better funded Welsh medium schools.

Keeping rural schools open in areas of falling birth rates, has been a problem since not long after I left school, almost 30 years ago.

I can't understand how anyone ever thought they could spread a declining rural population over a system of two languages at a time of economic hardship.

Startail Sun 10-Feb-13 22:46:09

Language of heaven it might be, but it's almost totally useless outside Wales.

Almost, because I do have a D(English)F who used her Welsh A'level to get into a London Uni. She needed any MFL to do SALT and our French dept were spectacularly bad.

idshagphilspencer Sun 10-Feb-13 22:50:28

Sorry star not going to bite
Nos da
smile

It is very sad when the rural school close especially if they do have enough children in them even if they come from outside the area.
When we move back to Wales Dd will go to the village school, 90 pupils preschool to age 11 and many combined year classes. Next schools are only a few miles away, next village and small town, but being able to walk to the school is a very convenient thing. Closing a village school can change the whole feel of the village itself. I also found that the ones who went to the village schools had better Welsh skills than the ones who went to the bigger schools in town, ours had 40 or so children in three classes, my family members went to the big school in town with hundreds of kids, I like small better. Dd goes to a school of over 700 kids, age 4 through 11 it's a nice place I like her teachers but hate how big it is, very impersonal.
You don't have to go to her meetings, but I'd probably support her in wanting to keep her Dd where she is.

Lovelygoldboots Sun 10-Feb-13 23:26:24

Most languages are "useless" outside of the country they are spoken. Not an argument against ensuring they are taught correctly in schools of the native country.

Startail Sun 10-Feb-13 23:33:03

idshagphilspencer no offense, it's not genuine Welsh people who want to hang on to their culture I have a problem with.
It's the Cardiff political elite, who twist that perfectly natural desire to their own ends.

I was brought up in Mid Wales and spent all my school day's there, I was born in England, but move as a toddler. My parents and DSIS still live there.

My Senior school was well over a 1000 pupils, 1 year 13 and 1 Y7 spoke Welsh. It is not part of the beautiful gentle sheep farming communities heritage. Certainly not within the memories of anyone's grand parents I knew. I only ever heard Welsh spoken once on the street and that was a North Welsh tourist.

The good road links are to Hereford not north or South Wales, So Radnorshire was always, I think, a bit of Wales that belonged not to England or to Wales. Devolution has imposed on the area a caricature of a Welsh identity that doesn't fit.

Sorry OP, I've high jacked horribly. I can certainly understand your wish to see the education budget spent wisely.

I also understand the desire of small communities to keep their schools and their jobs, We have the same problems here to and there are no easy answers.

lisianthus Mon 11-Feb-13 09:09:02

So hang on, they are closing a full, oversubscribed school to which people want to send their children, in order to force the parents to send their children to a school "with capacity", i.e a school that is less popular. I do not understand the reasoning behind this at all! Why not close the less popular school?

And what other posters said about this creating unemployment.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now