Nigel Holdcroft and I are standing up for Southend’s primary school children’s right to have the maximum choice when it comes to that important decision of what ‘big school’ to go to.
Nigel and I have put The Deanes School closure on the agenda of the next full council meeting, on 17th October, where we will be asking for all councillors to put their differences to one side and support our motion that:
“This council is concerned at the decision of Essex County Council to progress towards the closure of The Deanes School. We believe the case for closure has not been made out and that closure would have a detrimental impact on parental choice and the quality of education in Southend and South East Essex. We call upon Essex County Council to withdraw the statutory notice proposing to discontinue the school to allow further discussion and work for a sustainable future for The Deanes School to be undertaken”
I have been moved by the support The Deanes School has, and really feel Essex County Council has missed the point here. Parents do not care where the dividing line between Southend and the Greater Essex area is when it comes to school places. We take lots of pupils from Essex into our schools so it is only fair Essex pull their weight and take some of ours.
Last year Southend Schools, chiefly our grammar schools, but ten schools across the town in total, took 512 pupils from Essex, with Essex County Council Schools take less than half that number.
I was moved by the passion and number of Southend parents that attended the meeting we hosted before Essex made their decision, and I really want us to do what we can to ensure that parents have what they want and deserve: a mixed provision of schools and maximum choice as to where their children go.
We have had a surge in pupil numbers over the past few years and these will move through into the secondary sector in the not too distant future.
Deanes is a popular school, for its SEN (Special Educational Needs), sport and gifted & talented stream.
I hope that all Southend Councillors will join with me in sending Essex County Council the strongest message we can, that The Deanes School must stay open!