Shock as council launches consultation over proposed closure of Wigan primary school

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Parents, students and staff at a Wigan school have been left in disbelief after being told there will be public consultation regarding its proposed closure.

Those at Our Lady Immaculate Primary on Downall Green Road in Bryn were told the news by acting headteacher Carly Bozdogan.

It is believed the decision is due to falling numbers at the school.

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A message from Mrs Bozdogan said: “We have received notification from the local authority that the Wigan Council Cabinet has given initial permission for there to be a public consultation on the closure of Our Lady Immaculate Primary School.

Our Lady Immaculate Primary SchoolOur Lady Immaculate Primary School
Our Lady Immaculate Primary School

"This is a formal consultation that is governed by a statutory process that will seek the views of all stakeholders on the proposal.

"We expect it to open around June 22. At that time the local authority will circulate documentation that explains why they are proposing the closure, how you can make your views known and offer the opportunity for you to come into the school and meet with a member of the school organisation team and ask any questions you may have.

"We appreciate this may come as a shock.”

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Cath Pealing, interim assistant director of education at Wigan CouncilCath Pealing, interim assistant director of education at Wigan Council
Cath Pealing, interim assistant director of education at Wigan Council

Bryn councillor Steve Jones has offered his support to families affected by the news and is hosting a public meeting on Brocstedes field behind the school at 3.30pm on June 22.

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In a social media post, Mr Jones said: “It is obvious after yesterday's response from my posts on several pages the anger and disappointment from parents and the wider community in regards to the council's proposal to shut Our Lady's Catholic Primary School.

"I am angry also to only just learn this as the council has been discussing this for two years.

"If there is enough support and help I would like to discuss with all parties how we can campaign to save our school as it's looking more likely not everything is as we're being told.

"Please make every effort to attend the meeting and if you have any information you would like to share please contact me on 07759 510447 or [email protected].”

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Cath Pealing, assistant director for education at Wigan Council, said: “All local authorities have a statutory duty to monitor sufficiency of school places and this involves balancing having enough places with having too many places.

"Our projections show that there continues to be an oversupply of places in this area and that this is expected to continue.

"As school budgets are primarily based on the number of pupils on roll, an oversupply can have a negative impact on the viability of all schools in an area and on educational standards.

“The recommendation to close a school is always a difficult one. We know how much our schools mean to our communities, families and our children.

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"However, we must consider the impact that this has on all children in an area when the school budgets are declining with the falling numbers of pupils on roll.

"In addition to the proposal to consult on a closure of Our Lady Immaculate School, we will continue to review places within the area to ensure that we have balanced sufficiency. “We know that this will be upsetting for families and want to reassure them that we will be carrying out appropriate consultations so that everyone can have their say.”