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Chaucer Technology School pupil Gavin Kapuscinski launches petition against closure of Canterbury school

A 14-year-old pupil at the crisis-hit Chaucer Technology School in Canterbury has started an online petition in a bid to save it from closure.

Kent County Council formally announced the news yesterday afternoon, nearly a week after our sister paper the Kentish Gazette revealed the plans.

The school will be shut in September, except for Year 10 pupils, because of falling numbers that has led to a lack of funding.

Schoolboy Gavin Kapuscinski has launched a petition
Schoolboy Gavin Kapuscinski has launched a petition

Letters explaining the closure were sent to the parents of all 609 pupils at the school this week.

But Year 10 pupil Gavin Kapuscinski already has more than 100 signatures to his on-line petition to save the school.

"My friends are all really upset too because they don't want to get lower grades or leave the school either..." - pupil Gavin Kapuscinski

He said: "When I first visited the school I felt it was perfect for me because I want to an aeronautical engineer.

"The reason I don't want it to close is because we will be the only year group left and teaching standards will go down.

"And in a vital year of our exams next year, it is really not a very good thing to happen.

"My friends are all really upset too because they don't want to get lower grades or leave the school either.

"I've started an online petition and there are also a few Facebook pages to save the Chaucer. But I fear the council are just going to say 'no'."

It comes as many parents fear the "school run from hell" after the shock decision was announced.

Sue Tomkinson with her three sons and daughter Leo, Aiden, Ethan and Paige
Sue Tomkinson with her three sons and daughter Leo, Aiden, Ethan and Paige

Primary school teacher Sue Tomkinson's 13-year-old son Aidan Caldwell is in Year 9 at the school and has just chosen his GCSE subjects.

Now he faces being forced to move to a different school - which Mrs Tomkinson fears could be as far away as Sandwich.

KCC education chiefs say falling pupil numbers have left the school "particularly vulnerable", meaning there were inadequate funds to pay for enough teachers.

The 42-year-old, of Orchard Close, Littlebourne, said: "I'm so shocked. My son is just about settled in Year 9 and now he's facing this disruption. And what if the school he's sent to don't do the subjects he's chosen?

"He already suffered when he had to move primary schools. He's a quiet boy and finds it difficult to make friends. It's hard when children already have friendship groups."

Mrs Tomkinson is also angry at the lack of information from the school - which was forced to announce the news after it was leaked to the Kentish Gazette.

She added: "The public announcement's been made, but parents have still not received anything official from the school.

"It's come as such a shock. The last we heard from Chaucer, standards were being raised and things were improving."

The news was a double blow for Mrs Tomkinson, who now has two children at Canterbury schools that are set to shut.

As well as Aidan, her 11-year-old son Ethan is at Barton Court Grammar School, which is planning to close its campus in Longport and move to Herne Bay.

Chaucer is set to close
Chaucer is set to close

She also has a 16-year-old daughter, Paige, at a special school in Folkestone and a nine-year-old son called Leo at Sheldwich Primary School in Faversham where she works.

She said: "I know Herne Bay isn't a million miles away, but I chose to send my sons to Canterbury schools. It's going to mean the school-run from hell."

Mrs Tomkinson is not the only one angry at the proposals.

Comments were left on our story yesterday, from parents angry at the announcement.

One called 'theboltons' said: "As a parent of one of their pupils, I think it ignorant, irresponsible, and in a way, childish of the school to conduct themselves the way they have.

Head of School Elizabeth King
Head of School Elizabeth King

"What responsible adult would inform the child of the situation before their parent/guardian?

"I'm so shocked. My son is just about settled in Year 9 and now he's facing this disruption..." - parent Sue Tomkinson

"They have known it was coming for some time, they just chose to bury their heads in the sand and shun any enquiry for information that directly affects the future of our children.

"I am disgusted, and am now dealing with the backlash of a hormonal teen worrying what school she will be allocated to. Appalled is an understatement."

Adding to the coments was 'Sam1978', who said: "I have a son at this school in year 10 and I'm supposed to now trust that the school will keep him in Chaucer until his exams are over?

"The whole thing has been handled in the most awful way."

What do you think? Join the debate below.

To sign Gavin's petition, click here.

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