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Basildon not consulted on closure of Deanes School
PLANS to close Deanes School have been branded “shortsighted”
by a senior Basildon councillor.
Education bosses at Essex County Council want to shut the secondary school, in Daws Heath Road, Thundersley, due to dwindling pupil numbers.
While the majority of students live in Castle Point, 95 live in Basildon and could be forced to find spaces at alternative schools if the proposals get the go-ahead.
Southend Council bosses previously revealed they only found out about the possible closure just hours before it was announced to parents and pupils, meaning they were unable to put plans in place.
Phil Turner, deputy leader of Basildon Council, said: “I’m disappointed Basildon Council was not formally consulted on this matter.
“We have 95 Basildon pupils at the school who all face the uncertainty of where they will finish their secondary education, because of this short-sighted decision.
“We’re very much opposed to the closure of this school because we want to protect the parents’ choice and their ability to access good skills for their children.
“This decision will see a significant number of children from the borough faced with either concluding their studies in a school that will be in transition to close or having to move to another school entirely, which is unsettling and will have a detrimental effect on their grades.”
Basildon Council leader Tony Ball wrote to County Hall asking for his council’s views to be taken into account as part of the public consultation, which ended on July 22.
A final decision over the closure of Deanes is set to be made next month.
Education bosses at Essex County Council promised pupils would automatically be offered spaces at nearby Appleton and King John schools, in Benfleet, if it does shut.
Teachers would also be offered extra money to stay while Deanes is winding down ahead of a closure in 2016 to offer stability and support to pupils studying for exams.
Mr Turner added: “We understand difficult decisions need to be taken in the light of economic pressure on local authority budgets, but faced with the certainty that we will see an increase in the requirement for new homes in the immediate future, the pressure on school places is unlikely to decrease."
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