THE proposed closure of a Nelson primary school and the building of a replacement in Brierfield has been given an unanimous thumbs down at a public meeting.
Parents, governors, local councillors and concerned community members expressed their anger at the way Lancashire County Council and management at St Paul’s CE Primary School had dealt with the consultation process, and voiced their opposition to the planned move of the school to the former Mansfield High School site in Brierfield.
Coun. Eileen Ansar, who sits on Pendle Council and is also chairman of Nelson Town Council, said she had only officially been told of the consultation two weeks ago, and was appalled at the lack of information from the county council.
She added she was disgusted to hear from parents at the meeting that children were being “bullied” and, in the words of some parents, “groomed” to support the school.
She thanked parent Neil McGowan for setting up a website and starting the fight against these proposals and promised to look at legalities surrounding how this consultation had been handled.
Walverden Ward councillor Julie Henderson said she lived next door to the school and had not been informed.
“We have to put the kids’ safety as our number one priority, and walking to the Mansfield site for young infants is outrageous.
“St Paul’s serves the St Paul’s parish. If we moved to Brierfield, we would be in St Luke’s and the school would be called St Luke’s.
“We need to have a formal investigation into what has been going on at the school and the governors have to get their act together before something else happens.”
County Coun. George Adam told the meeting a joint working group had been set up between Pendle Council and Lancashire County Council and he would be pushing to have local councillors and parents on this so they can have their say.
He welcomed the creation of an action group and urged everyone to stick together in opposing the move.
Azhar Ali, former Pendle Council leader and community activist, said: “If half of what we are hearing here tonight is true, the headteacher needs to be held accountable for her actions.”
He asked the school governors to take ownership of this issue and call a public meeting in the school and update all interested parties with the headteacher present.
He proposed a number of actions were needed urgently and, as a result, the meeting agreed the following steps:
Lancashire County Council to be informed that Mansfield site is not an option.
Lancashire County Council to draw up proposals for the existing site, plus the former Edge End School Site and land at the back of Halifax Road as alternatives.
A meeting of the action group be held with school governors and headteacher.
Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet member for schools, County Coun. Susie Charles, be contacted again to request an urgent meeting.