Parents protest over school closure plans

Cantley Sycamore Primary School supporters with their banners outside the school.
Cantley Sycamore Primary School supporters with their banners outside the school.
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WORRIED parents protested in front of Mansion House as Doncaster Council took the first steps towards the possible closure of their children’s school.

More than a dozen protesters yesterday displayed banners and stopped passers-by, calling on them to sign their petition against the closure of Sycamore Primary School, in Cantley, as Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies’ cabinet met inside the building.

Inside, the cabinet agreed to start the first stage of consultation, which will see cabinet member for children Andrea Milner and director of children’s services Chris Pratt look at the proposal over a six week period. If they support the plan, it will then move on to full public consultation.

Coun Milner told the meeting the school had the largest proportion of surplus places in the borough, with only 83 of its 203 places taken.

She said it was a nice, friendly, small school, adding: “It is about looking at the practicalities from our point of view. If we don’t make a decision now it could be twice as painful in the future.”

Protester Andrea Brady, who has children aged two and six at the school, said hundreds had signed their petition against the closure.

She said: “We’re extremely worried about this and our children are worried too.

“We don’t want to see them split up and sent off to schools with bigger class sizes and worse Ofsted reports. My daughter has come on leaps and bounds at Sycamore, and my son in Year 1 is progressing well. This is very unsettling for them.”

Carol Wattam, who has an 11-year-old grandson at the school, said she thought the school was wrong to close it for economic reasons rather than educational factors.

Fellow protester Nicola Gutteridge, from Rossington, said she had chosen to take her children to Sycamore and would have to find a new child minder as well as a new school if it was closed.

She said the school would do anything for its pupils.