Portslade by-election candidate urges school closure rethink Brighton News

Despite Brighton and Hove City Council proposing the closure of St Peter’s Community Primary in Portslade, parents making decisions on school places are still able to apply, leaving them with the prospect of a wasted application if the school closure goes ahead.

David Maples, who is standing as a candidate in the South Portslade by-election for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), has called on parents not to be put off applying to the school and demanded that the council guarantee St Peter’s will stay open.

He said: “Parents should not have been put in the position of worrying whether an application for St Peter’s is a wasted application.

“As parents can only express preferences for three schools, it might seem high risk, particularly for parents who do not want their child to go to a faith school.

“The consultation about closing St Peter’s should not be taking place at the same time as parents are applying for school places.

“The council created this problem. The only way to solve the problem is for the council to guarantee St Peter’s stays open. This will allow parents to have a proper choice.”

Mr Maples also said that there is a “vibrant campaign” to keep the school open and that the case against closure is “compelling”.

He said: “The school is on the edge of an industrial zone which housing developers have their eyes on and over 100 homes have been completed at Claredon Place. Would anybody, apart from Labour councillors, be surprised if the young couples moving there have children?

“This decision will also have consequences for the leader of the council Bella Sankey. It risks upsetting residents in her own ward as some Wish ward parents send children to the school.”

Deputy leader of the city council Jacob Taylor said that while the Labour administration understands the strong views about the proposal, “these proposals were not made lightly and reflect the demographic changes in the city and consequent crisis in school funding”.

He said: “We believe all pupils at St Peter’s could be placed in Brighton and Hove schools within two miles of St Peter’s.”

He also said that a decision will be made in advance of the next academic year, starting in September.

Mr Maples is among seven candidates running in the South Portslade by-election tomorrow.

TUSC campaigns for a “no cuts budget”, urging the council to instead use its reserves and borrow money to fund services and campaign for more funding from government.

Councillor Jacob Taylor, deputy leader of the city council, slammed the party’s proposed approach and said: “If their policy was to be enacted, the council would have to declare itself bankrupt which would mean Michael Gove would effectively takeover Brighton and Hove City Council and make all decisions.

“We believe the residents of South Portslade deserve better than a Michael Gove takeover and as your Labour council, we are fighting to preserve frontline services, despite the harrowing impact of 14 years of Tory austerity. Vote TUSC, get Gove.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-11 09:20:00

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