Parents vow to fight school closure

By Annie DavidsonPARENTS have vowed to fight on after councillors took the first steps in closing a special school.Essex County Council's cabinet agreed yesterday that the Leas School in Clacton should close its doors in August next year.

By Annie Davidson

PARENTS have vowed to fight on after councillors took the first steps in closing a special school.

Essex County Council's cabinet agreed yesterday that the Leas School in Clacton should close its doors in August next year.

Under the move, parents will have the option of sending their children to either the Windsor School, which is also a Clacton-based special needs school, or to the town's new mainstream secondary school, Bishops Park College.


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However, the Leas School site could still be used to cater for younger children until 2008 under the management of the Windsor School.

But Paul Honeywood, chairman of Leas Parents Action Group, said the fight to keep the school open would continue.

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“We are going to challenge this decision. We are not against inclusion, but we feel closing the Leas does not help inclusion. It basically creates enforced inclusion,” he added.

“The more severe children will go to the Windsor, but the vast majority will go to Bishops Park, which is a mainstream school.”

Mr Honeywood, whose 10-year-old son Aidan is at the Leas School, said the campaign to save it was gaining momentum with councillors and MPs supporting it.

The cabinet's decision is now open to public consultation for two months while the views of the community are sought.

If any objections are lodged, the decision will be referred to the schools organisation committee for a final decision.

But if the committee cannot unanimously agree on what should happen, the decision will be made by an independent adjudicator.

A spokesman for Essex County Council pointed out the proposal to close the Leas School had originally been put forward by the three schools concerned and not by the local authority.

annie.davidson@eadt.co.uk

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