Action group's fight to save school

PUBLISHED: 12:51 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 May 2010

Students make their feelings known

Students make their feelings known

WE will not give up without a fight! That is the message from parents of children at a school earmarked for closure. Collenswood Parents Action Group has been set up to fight Hertfordshire County Council proposals to close Collenswood School in Stevena

Collecting signatures

WE will not give up without a fight!" That is the message from parents of children at a school earmarked for closure.

Collenswood Parents Action Group has been set up to fight Hertfordshire County Council proposals to close Collenswood School in Stevenage.

In just four days the group collected 4,400 signatures which they took to County Hall in Hertford on Tuesday - the last day of the council's consultation.

Stevenage MP Barbara Follett has added her name to the fight saying: "I have been in touch with Hertfordshire County Council to ask whether the official consultation could be extended. The council's own guidelines recommend 12-week consultation periods. This one, which is just four weeks long, does seem very short."

Linda Townsend, action group chairman, told The Comet: "I am not surprised we were able to collect so many signatures, the strength of feeling is very high. If we had more time we could have collected many more."

Parents have even set up a website www.collenswoodparentsaction.co.uk to keep interested parties informed of the campaign's progress.

This week a former Collenswood head of English for 18 years slammed the council for the "insufficient" advice given to the school.

Jon Berry said the council should not act like it is blameless. He said the council's school advisors failed to give helpful advice to the school at crucial times and failed to identify the real problems at the school.

He believes the council's aim has always been to close the school in order to sell the land.

But so far Stevenage Borough Council have not had any planning applications or enquiries about the site and Hertfordshire County Council is standing by its statement that the site will be "used as a school for several years".

A council spokesman said: "We would never propose to close a school without very good reason and we understand the strength of feeling that our proposal has generated.

"Like the Collenswood parents, we have the best interest of the students at heart and really feel that they would benefit from the changes we have suggested.

"All the responses we receive will be considered at the education panel on February 8, which will make a recommendation to the county council's cabinet meeting on February 21."

* Parents planning to attend the education panel on Wednesday, February 8 are asked to call chairman of the action group Linda Townsend to organise transport. Her number is 01438 225387.

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