Closing Dunswell Primary School 'will rip heart out of village'
FURIOUS parents will march in protest over plans to shut their children's primary school.
Julie Reed, who has three children at Dunswell Primary, says it is "the march of our children's future".
"Closing this school will cause total devastation," she said.
"It will split up friends.
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"But not just the school, it will rip the heart out of the village."
Mrs Reed, mother to Georgina, seven, William, ten, and Louie, nine, hopes hundreds will march from Dunswell Primary School to East Riding Council's County Hall office in Beverley on Saturday, March 2, from noon.
She said: "I don't want to cause too much disruption to people in Beverley, but we do want to hold a protest and be heard.
"I take inspiration from the Save the Setts campaign, in which East Riding Council changed its mind about pulling up the cobbles in Saturday Market.
"The aim is to raise awareness of the closure to residents in Hull and Beverley. The council does not want pupils from Hull there."
Dunswell could be closed by July next year, with Gembling and Langtoft Primary Schools, both near Driffield, possibly closed by the end of this school year.
Paul Butler, inclusion and access manager at East Riding Council, said the council is one of the worst-funded in the country.
He stressed the council is looking at how many schools it can justify maintaining and warned of more possible school closures in the future.
Despite the fact Dunswell is financially viable, 75 per cent of its 88 pupils come from outside the catchment area.
At a heated meeting last week, Mr Butler said the council was consulting with residents and was looking to transfer pupils to Woodmansey Primary. Parents expressed concern over safety and school places.
Governors are launching a bid to convert Dunswell Primary School into an academy, independent of local authority control.
East Riding Council leader Stephen Parnaby insists the authority will listen to views from parents over proposals to shut the three primary schools.
He said: "Small schools are important to communities in the East Riding but, with the new formula for funding proposed by the Government, this does put some at risk.
"However, I promise the consultation process currently ongoing in genuine and we will listen to everyone's views.
"Funding for schools is ring- fenced and if any savings are made they will go into the overall schools budget not into the council's general fund."
The consultation, which was due to end in five weeks, will be extended until at least Easter in order to provide more detailed information about the council's proposals.