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Protest over plan to merge schools

CLEAR MESSAGE: children and their parents on the march: Picture: BARRY CRAYFORD
CLEAR MESSAGE: children and their parents on the march: Picture: BARRY CRAYFORD

PARENTS and pupils fired a warning shot at Medway Council by staging a protest walk against plans to merge two primary schools.

Medway Council is considering merging Ridge Meadow Primary School and Oaklands school in Walderslade.

Mother and children gathered at Ridge Meadow school in Churchill Avenue and did the 45-minute walk to Oaklands, which could become a daily occurrence if the merger goes ahead.

Protestor Helen Rolandsen, 34, said: “I believe we got our message across well and truly and we’re definitely going to fight this all the way.

“We don’t want this merger to happen because it’s two different communities being forced together against our wishes. We had nearly 100 parents and children on this march and we were joined by more as we got closer to Oaklands.

“The traffic on Walderslade Road was heavy and too dangerous for our children to be faced with every day.”

Medway Council says no decision has yet been made and that public consultation is still under way. The council hopes that a merger of this type would combat too many surplus places at primary schools.

But this merger would see Ridge Meadow pupils being shifted to an extended building on the Oaklands site, some 45 minutes walk away from their current school in Churchill Avenue.

Mrs Rolandsen, who has two children at Ridge Meadow, said: “We’re not going to give up. No one wants this merger. We just feel like the council is forcing it on us.”

Another option the council has is to cut school places at the two schools and five others.

The other schools are Swingate Infant, Spinnens Acre Junior, Lordswood Infant and Junior and Wayfield Primary.

The public consultation period ends on March 31 and then the decision will rest with Medway Council’s cabinet.

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