Friday, October 15, 2004

A tale of three schools

There is jubilation that the Romsey Infant and Junior Schools have been saved and the proposal for a joint school has been accepted. After my initial meetings with Officers at the County Council I believed that there was a fair chance of the proposal gaining acceptance.

Sadly, the fate of Ampfield School was always a bit more of an uphill battle. This delightful village school will close in two years time. This is despite the fact that the committee voted in favour of retaining the school and raised the hopes and expectations of all those who have been working so hard to try and breathe new life into the school after an unfortunate period of "leadership".

Don Allen, the Education portfolio holder at Conservative controlled Hampshire County Council, seems to think he knows better and has overturned the decision. This is a sad day for democracy, a sad day for parental choice and a very sad day for those parents who remain committed to the school.

It is one of those occasions when the consultation exercise has seemed like a sham. Belief in democracy has been shattered and the posturings of Michael Howard on choice in education have been shown to amount to empty rhetoric.

No wonder my Conservative opponent has been strangely quiet on this issue.