Parent's anger as consultation on proposed closure of Wigan primary school begins

A dad has voiced his anger over the proposed closure of a Wigan school with close links to his family.

By Sian Jones
Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 4:55 am

Father-of-three Paul Taylor has sent all of his children to Our Lady Immaculate RC Primary on Downall Green Road in Bryn, the youngest of whom is currently in year four.

Mr Taylor says the motion to shut the establishment down has come out of the blue and caused a “wave of panic” throughout the school community.

He said: “My children have gone to that school and had no issues.

Our Lady Immaculate Primary School

“For Catholic residents in Bryn, Landgate and Garswood this is our parish school.

"During the pandemic, there have been a number of staffing problems including with the headteacher.

"This decision has led to significant irrational decisions and applications to transfer their children to alternative schools in hope to secure an unfair, first-come-first-serve place within other schools that are not necessarily in their best interests and adding fuel to the newly lit fire.”

The consultation focuses on how to reduce surplus primary school places in Ashton.

Cath Pealing, assistant director of education at Wigan Council

Two options are given: to close Our Lady’s or ask the public for alternative suggestions.

Its release coincides with the school being awarded an inadequate Ofsted report stating: “pupils don’t benefit from an effective curriculum.”

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Cath Pealing, assistant director for education, said: “We acknowledge that this is an upsetting time for the school community and encourage anyone with a view or opinion to contribute to the consultation.

“We can reassure everyone in the school community that the statutory process that governs a proposed school closure means that all points raised via the consultation will be carefully considered and addressed.

“Whenever a proposal to close a school is made, we acknowledge that families may look at their options and apply for alternative schools before a decision has been made.

“We want to stress that this is still a consultation phase and no final decision has been taken.

“While we would ask parents to wait until the process is concluded before looking to move their children, we know that the law allows for them to make a mid-year application to another school at any time.

“We are giving families the opportunity to meet with council officers to ask questions and to raise concerns.”

Mr Taylor added: “This situation is causing serious disruption and upset to a lot of families.

“The focus should be on ensuring our children receive the best education possible and supporting the school in regaining its previous good status and beyond, not to side-line and further interrupt our children’s development at such a key stage of their lives.

"This would also lead to further pressures on other local schools and add the their already over allocated spaces and shared year groups.

"My youngest’s world will have his world turned upside down”

People can air their views at www.wigan.gov.uk/consultations until August 3