Fight to save St Louis heats up
THE battle to save St Louis Middle is heating up as parents vow to fight on to keep the school open.
The East Anglian Daily Times has now launched a campaign to keep the top-performing school in Bury St Edmunds safe.
Support for the appeal is pouring in as pupils, parents and former staff get behind the crusade to keep St Louis Middle open.
News of the shock closure was broken to parents in a letter from the Rev Roger Sparks, chairman of the East Anglian Diocesan Schools’ Service last month.
Rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted earlier this year, the school will become part of a two-tier Catholic system in 2013, four years before Suffolk’s 40 middle school’s are set to be abolished in 2017.
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Parent Katie Gedge, a former St Louis pupil herself, said the move to shut the school in 2013 had sparked concern.
“We are appalled by the decision,” she said. “It is such a special school.
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“It is a part of the whole community and a wonderful thing to have.”
Supporters gathered at the school gates on the last day of term yesterday to urge parents to demand answers over the shock move.
“We need a rallying call to people,” Mrs Gedge said. “Some parents think it is dead in the water.”
A petition drawn up to show the strength of feeling against the closure has won almost 200 signatures in just one week.
Under the plans, St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury will become an 11-18 school and the town’s St Edmunds school will become a primary for children aged four to 11 years old.
Parent Rachel Gudi, one of the organisers of the campaign to save the school, said she was delighted to get such support from the community.
“The fight to save St Louis will go on,” she said. “We won’t stop in our campaign to save this school.
“It is fantastic the EADT is backing us.
“We know a lot of people in the community value the school and are shocked at its closing.”
An online blog has been launched to give supporters up-to-the-minute updates about the campaign at www.stlouisthinkagain.blogspot.com
But Hugh O’Neill, headteacher of St Benedict’s Upper School in Bury, said he backed the decision to close St Louis.
“I believe that the decision made by the Diocese last week was the right one,” he wrote in a letter to parents.
“I say this knowing that many of you will see the closure of St Louis as a terrible shame.
“I share your great love and respect for St Louis.
“I think the key to understanding the current situation is to remember that St Benedict’s and St Louis Middle School are not just Bury schools. They are West Suffolk schools.”
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