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Fresh hope over school closure

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Campaigners, including MP Roger Gale, at an earlier protest meeting
Campaigners, including MP Roger Gale, at an earlier protest meeting

GOVERNORS will tonight (Thursday) consider whether to withdraw their proposal to close St Philip Howard School at Herne Bay.

The governing body will consider an outline of key issues put to them by the community action group fighting to save the school, with a retraction of the proposal at the top of the list.

Action group chairman Mike Lunn said: "We can't realistically go forward with the Targeted Capital Fund bid with the proposal to close hanging over our head.

"We hope they will review and retract their proposal as the TCF is again open for bidding."

The closing date for TCF applications coincides with the conclusion of public consultation at the end of April.

Mr Lunn said that it looked likely that two teachers may be made redundant due to a cut in funding shown in newly-published budget figures for the next year.

This meant there were likely to be four mixed-stage classes next year, a practice adopted and working extremely well in smaller rural schools.

He added that on the plus side, a great deal of classroom support had been pledged by volunteers from within the community. Finding ways of encouraging children into the school was a key target. Mr Lunn said: "This school does have a future. There are a huge number of committed parents and community members who want to make this school thrive.

"Whatever obstacles there are, we are confident they can be overcome."

Mr Lunn is one of three action group members represented on a working group, including three governors, set up to explore the possibilities for the school.

Putting together a TCF bid is their immediate aim. Their next meeting is on Monday.

Mr Lunn said that he understood the Archdiocese of Southwark had indicated its support for the bid. He added that a significant step would be to secure the backing of the Local Education Authority, which backed the school's bid to TCF last year, prior to the fund being frozen.

Written responses to the proposal to close the school must be returned by April 27.

More information about the campaign to save the school is available on the website at www.savesphschool.co.uk

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