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Angry parents planning legal action over ‘rushed’ decision to shut primary school

PUBLISHED: 18:03 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:03 08 November 2017

Alderman Swindell in Great Yarmouth which the county council says will close. Photo: George Ryan

Alderman Swindell in Great Yarmouth which the county council says will close. Photo: George Ryan

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Parents and campaigners are set to challenge Norfolk County Council in court over the way it conducted a consultation on the future of their school.

Alderman Swindell is set to close next year. An action group is mounting a legal challenge over the decision. Photo: George Ryan Alderman Swindell is set to close next year. An action group is mounting a legal challenge over the decision. Photo: George Ryan

Last month the authority announced its proposal to shut Alderman Swindell Primary School in Great Yarmouth and build a new £7m school on the nearby North Denes site would go ahead.

Now campaigners say the process was rushed, their concerns were not listened to, and that they have taken legal advice.

An online donation page has raised more than a third of the £4,500 needed to launch the legal challenge which supporters say proves the level of discontent around the process.

MORE: Plans to close Great Yarmouth primary and merge it with another will go ahead

A statement on the Save Alderman Swindell’s School’s Just Giving page states: “NCC have decided to close Alderman Swindell Primary School. We feel they have rushed the process and not listened to any concerns we have. They have not answered any of our questions and some are really important.

“We feel they haven’t followed the correct procedure in regards to the consultation.

“We love this little school and don’t want it to close. We believe it is needed in our town which has a growing population. We will have our choice of schools taken away from us and our children will be forced into another school which will house the kids in mobiles on site.

“There will be building work done on the other school for the next two to three years which will be a distraction to our children and will affect their education. All the teachers at Alderman Swindell School will lose their jobs which is very upsetting.

“We have obtained legal advice and we have a case against NCC. Please help us be heard and protect our school and keep the teachers jobs.”

It states that if the target is not reached all the money will be refunded.

If more money is raised the surplus will be donated to the school or pay for a leaving party if it is ultimately shut.

MORE: Parents, pupils and teachers march through Great Yarmouth to protest Alderman Swindell closure

Meanwhile campaign chairman Sandy Lysaght said parents and community were being urged to hold hands and circle the school with a “ring of unity” on November 26 at 11am.

The peaceful demonstration aimed to show decision makers they were keen to carry on protecting their school.

Stuart Dark, vice chairman of the children’s services committee, said: “I strongly believe this is the right decision for local children and that the focus now should be on ensuring a smooth transition for all pupils.

“We know there will always be sadness at a school closure but I would urge people to look at the full and detailed rationale for the decision, which includes the most recent Ofsted inspection and monitoring reports.

“My preferred option is for Alderman Swindell to become a site that can provide much needed provision for children with special educational needs.

“Many such children are currently having to travel out of Great Yarmouth around the county, at great disruption to them and their families.”

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