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Wednesday, 4 July 2007


DCC's 'newspaper', Insight, arrived today.

In an article* entitled "Hands up for a new beginning", the Council's proposals for the closure of several schools were described. It reprints misleading and inaccurate information that should, by now, have been corrected.

Here's what was said, followed by our comments.


To close Combs Infant School and offer pupils a place at a school in their community. In most cases this would be Chapel-en-le-Frith Primary School.

  • Combs Infant School has 25 pupils and 15 of those live outside the school catchment area.
  • It costs £5,447 to educate each pupil compared to a Derbyshire average of £2,635. This means pupils at other schools in Derbyshire get less funding.
  • It will mean shorter school journeys for many pupils.
Combs School currently has 26 pupils and is 8% over-subscribed. DCC failed to use this number in their calculation of cost-per-pupil.

The 'catchment area' referred to is a 'Normal Area'. DCC are unable to tell us when and how this was defined, and it bears little correspondence to current population and traffic conditions. In fact, since it was defined, some schools have even changed location. In our view, it's an Abnormal Area, used to justify DCC's proposal.

It actually cost substantially less to educate a child in Combs last year, due to the school managing its finances well, and not spending its full budget. The school is given rural small school funding by central government, and that skews any comparison with a non-rural larger school.

Journeys to school for the majority of children will be longer and less safe if they are forced to go to Chapel Primary.

Why won't DCC publish accurate information?
* The article is available online.

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