Parents protest to save Dunswell Primary School
BATTLING parents have stepped up the fight to save their school with a placard protest outside East Riding Council's headquarters.
The campaigning parents, who are fighting closure plans for Dunswell Primary School, staged their demonstration at County Hall in Beverley as the council's cabinet held a meeting yesterday.
Mother-of-five Julie Reed, who has three children at the school, said: "We are here because we want to raise awareness of the cause.
"We want to get everyone involved in this fight. It's not just for the school, it's for the community as a whole."
East Riding Council is one of the worst-funded authorities in the country and is looking at how many schools it can justify maintaining.
Dunswell Primary is financially viable but 75 per cent of its 88 pupils come from outside the catchment area.
The council is now looking to shut the school in July 2014.
But campaigning parents have warned they will step up their fight to save the primary.
They will be back in Beverley for a march on Saturday, when they will hand in a petition, signed by more than 3,000 people, to County Hall.
Mrs Reed, who lives in Hull, said parents have been overwhelmed by support for their campaign. She said: "The amount of backing we have got is overwhelming.
"More than 3,000 people have signed the petition and we are still collecting names.
"We are being supported by businesses as well. Everyone wants to sign the petition."
Another parent, Richard McWatt, 37, whose four-year-old daughter is a pupil, said: "We live three doors away from the school. It is the heartbeat of the community.
"My little girl loves the school. The older kids look after the younger ones, you don't get that in bigger schools."
Mr McWatt, who has a health education business, said local businesses would also be affected if the council closes the school next year.
Ward councillors Ros Jump and Geraldine Mathieson joined residents at their protest yesterday.
Councillor Jump said: "I could understand the council wanting to close the school if it was failing or under-subscribed, but this is not the case.
"It should not matter that three quarters of the pupils are from Hull – education knows no boundaries.
"If people want their children to come to this school, it's not as if we do it for free or on the cheap – we get funding for each child."
Cllr Jump said the school is a vital part of the community.
She said: "It is part of the village, not an appendage.
"It also has a very good reputation and that's why I can't understand the council wanting to close it."
Cllr Mathieson said: "Ten years ago, the council wanted to close primary schools in Cottingham but they didn't and now they're thriving."