THE man who will decide the future of Handley Hill has poured cold water on hopes it will be saved.
Cty Cllr David Rowlands, Cheshire’s executive member for Children’s Services claims closing the school would benefit the education of all children in the area.
He told Thursday’s full council meeting empty desks at the Winsford school currently stand at 13%, and are forecast to rise to almost 20% by 2012.
“Closing Handley Hill would bring about a significant reduction in the surplus places in this area and make the remaining schools much more stable with a greatly increased chance of achieving sustainability,” he said.
Cllr Rowlands also explained why two neighbouring primary schools – Darnhall and Over Hall – were not proposed for closure.
He said: “Darnhall serves the outermost area where it is important provision is retained, and Over Hall is an outstanding school and very popular with far fewer surplus places.”
He added: “Academically, Handley Hill is rated only satisfactory by Ofsted while surrounding schools are judged much better. We do not close schools lightly, and I understand the concerns of parents and governors. But there is a clear case for the closure of Handley Hill.”
At the meeting every Conservative member who attended voted in favour of publishing of statutory public notices proposing the school’s closure, but were outvoted by the 25 opposition members.