The fight to keep Kirklington School open continued as soon as the Christmas Break was over. In a series of events Kirklington parents and school supporters increased their pressure on the Education Authority in their efforts to dissuade the County Council from closing the village school.
On Tuesday January 14th a petition of over 400 signatures was presented to Notts. County Council Chairwoman, Mrs. Evelyn Gray, by a small delegation of parents led by Councillor Bert Tuck.
The Education Authority are hoping to fill vacant places at Caunton and Halam schools, which are only half full, with Kirklington schoolchildren. Parents argued that this will not be the case as many parents will opt for other schools and many will be forced into the private sector.
Closing Kirklington which has a full roll could result in an extra cost to the ratepayer of up to £18,000 because of increased bussing and the unique needs of special children already well catered for at the school. Parents wished to know why alternative options to closing the school have not been seriously considered.
Facilities at the school are good and not cramped as the authority claims. A charitable trust has offered to extend the buildings if the school remains open at no extra cost to the authority. Furthermore, at a recent public meeting, the acting head teacher of the school indicated that he would accept a permanent post at the school if it was offered even though it would mean a drop in salary.
If the Education Authority hope to close a full and highly efficient school to realise funds from selling buildings and land, it would be a scandalous form of asset stripping, argue the school’s supporters. In the past the Education Authority has vehemently denied that this is the motive, but in the report from Director of Education A. J. Fox to the Education subcommittee for the January 20th meeting, in which there is no good case given for closing the school, the concluding commentary states that:
“The Authority owns the building and, if it were decided to sell it, this would result in a capital receipt”. Parents say that their children’s education and the life of the village are at stake here and neither should be used as pawns in economic considerations. Educational standards and social considerations should be the crucial factors in making the decision.
Before Christmas, the Action Committee had lobbied Labour councillors and prospective MP’s David Barton and Willy Bach at ·the Socialist” Countryside Group conference at Brackenhurst College.
Mrs. H. Bower, Mrs. J. Kinnear, and Mrs. S. Richards were able to speak to Mr. Riddell, chairman of the Education Committee, about the review of Kirklington School. Parents were reassured when Mr. Riddell commented, “I have never closed a good school yet”. He added that he had a duty to the many ratepayers who wanted value for money. It was pointed out that Kirklington School exemplified the very principle of “value for money” and it was a strong reason for keeping the school open.
In early December the Action Committee succeeded in eliciting a unanimous support decision from the District Council which comprises Labour, Conservative, Independent and Liberal Alliance members.
Mr. Eric Bust, Leader of the Independent Liberal group, tabled a resolution in favour of maintaining Kirklington School and it was seconded by Mr. David Barton. Major reasons for keeping the school open were cited as the school’s continued full rolls, its cost-effectiveness, its role as a community focal point, and its good educational standards. The parents are happy with the educational service provided. Mr. Bust drew attention to the fact that support reached across the whole political spectrum in the’ area.
Extract from The Bramley January 1986