Badwell Ash: Parents and pupils protest against the potential closure of their primary school

Parents and children protesting outside Badwell Ash Primary against proposed closure.

Parents and children protesting outside Badwell Ash Primary against proposed closure. - Credit: Archant

Parents and pupils joined together in protest in a last attempt to convince governors not to shut their village school.

The community in Badwell Ash has been left shocked at the announcement last month that the village’s primary school is earmarked for closure.

Yesterday, parents and children with placards gathered outside Badwell Ash Church of England Primary School to show governors - who were inside discussing the school’s future - the strength of feeling that it should remain open.

Parents and carers have been invited to a meeting tonight to hear the outcome.

Helen Flack, of Badwell Ash Save Our School (SOS) Committee, said: “This is our last opportunity to show them we don’t want it to shut. We don’t know what else to do.”

Mrs Flack, who currently has one child at the school, said the protest was the first time the pupils had had a voice over the potential closure.

Previously, the Venerable John Cox, chairman of governors at the school, has said with just 29 pupils, it is difficult to sustain a full and engaging curriculum. He said: “The governors feel pupils would receive a more fulfilling education experience if they were taught at one of the nearby schools.”

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At yesterday’s private meeting, governors were looking through the consultation responses.

Peter Stobbs said his nine-year-old son, who has had behavioural issues, had been progressing well since joining Badwell Ash Primary.

“We moved him there from Elmswell and, to be honest, the teachers have been fantastic. The school have really helped us.”

He said because the school was small, it was able to tend to his needs better.

Parents have said they have been told the underachievement of their children is one of the reasons for the potential closure, but Sylvia Baalham, 61, who has seen three children and nine grandchildren go through the school, said: “I have never found fault with the education my family have received there.”

She added: “Nobody is going to come into the village if they haven’t got anywhere to send their children.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said “despite extensive efforts”, governors recognised it would be difficult for them to maintain a high quality education experience.

“If governors decide to propose closure, they would publish a statutory notice in early July with a final decision taken by the county council’s Cabinet in September 2013,” she said.