Council approves school closure plan

Shevington Community Primary School will close later this year
Shevington Community Primary School will close later this year

Controversial plans to close a Wigan primary school have been given the green light by the council's cabinet.

Shevington Community Primary School will now shut permanently in October with all 61 pupils moved to nearby Shevington Vale Community Primary.

The plan had been strongly opposed by members of the community and ward councillors, who raised fears about class sizes and travel if the school closed.

Two public consultations had been held, with the latest receiving 107 responses, none of which were in favour of the proposal.

Campaign group Save Shevington Federation posted on Facebook: "After the disappointing news that Shevington Community Primary School is set to close, we would like to thank the community for their support.

"Despite Shevington CPS being an Outstanding-rated school and serving 100 children before the consultation process began, Wigan Council deemed it too much of a financial burden. There has been a school on the site for over 200 years and many parents, children, staff, former pupils and other members of the community will be affected by its closure.

"We understand the financial implications but have always maintained that we felt numbers would rise, if the school was given the chance to grow. Unfortunately this can no longer be the case so, moving forward, we as a committee will seek reassurances from Shevington Federation and Wigan Council regarding a transition for the children.

"Issues including school and nursery places, transport, uniforms, teaching, class sizes and building work all need addressing. We will continue to represent parents of all Federation children to ensure these issues are resolved. The council have been clear that they want to work with us to make the transition as smooth as possible and give all of our children the best education possible."

A report presented to the town hall's cabinet members on Thursday detailed how the federation which runs the school would face a yearly deficit of almost £600k from 2019 if no action was taken.

Coun Jo Platt, portfolio holder for children’s services at Wigan Council said: “Thank you to the many families and residents who have played an active and involved role throughout the consultation. You have shown great spirit throughout this process and your input has shaped the measures we have put in place to manage the transition.

“Despite hard work by both school supporters and council officers it has not been possible to find a suitable alternative to address the huge surplus in school places at the school. There are currently 61 pupils at the school affected by the recommendation with the school capacity at 210. If it was to continue to operate, based on pupil funding figures the Shevington School Federation would be running a financial deficit of almost £600,000 per year by 2019.

“We have listened to what you have said about the potential impact this decision could have on you and your family. This is why we are bringing in a number of measures which will support every pupil who needs it to make the transition as smoothly as possible for your children.

“The decision to close Shevington Community Primary School has not been an easy decision to make. But our decision has been based on what is best for the education of children in Shevington both now and in the future.

“We have every confidence that pupils will continue to get excellent education as the leadership across all schools in the federation is the same. Now we want to focus on making the transition for pupils and staff as positive as possible, and with this we have approved a range of measures including supporting the most effective transport options for every family who needs it.”