School campaigners face more setbacks

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

A group of campaigners who are trying to keep Monks Eleigh Primary School open for community use have been hit by a number of setbacks.

The group had hoped to use the building as an early years unit and even met with a specialist officer from Suffolk County Council to discuss the idea, which now seems unlikely to be pursued.

“It turns out that not only would we have to organise the feasibility study ourselves, but we would, as a group of volunteers, have to set it up as a business and fund and run it,” said Jenny Maynard, who is a member of SaveMe – a group made up of former teachers, governors and residents attempting to save the school.

Despite 122 responses pleading with the council that the site should be kept, including individual responses and personal letters – on top of letters of support being collected by SaveMe – the process of closing the school is continuing.

“It now appears there is a further consultation when all these responses do not count,” said Mrs Maynard. “We have to do it all again.

“I think they rely on consultation fatigue. You can appreciate our frustration.”

The last of the pupils left the school just after April.

Problems began when the school was judged inadequate by education inspectors Ofsted in July.

This resulted in the number of children falling from 37 to 16, although many parents protested that teaching standards were good.

Despite bringing in interim headteacher Karen Harman, Suffolk County Council was criticised for a lack of support and, before the Easter break, only a handful of pupils remained.

Mrs Maynard wants to ensure some kind of educational facility continues in the village.

“The next step is ensuring the building is considered for another educational use before it is sold,” she said.