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Tuesday, 23 October 2007

DCC To Spare Village School

The following press release has been issued by the campaign.

Derbyshire County Council To Spare Village School From Closure

Combs, UK; 23 October 2007: In a report issued today by Derbyshire County Council, a recommendation has been made not to proceed with the closure of Combs Infant School, in High Peak, Derbyshire. The recommendation will go before the Council’s Cabinet for confirmation of the decision, on 30 October.

The report has been issued following a consultation process that began in May, in which the Council sought to solve their problem of having surplus places in other schools by closing Combs School.

The council received more than 2000 signatures on petitions, and almost 200 letters of opposition. Detailed arguments against the proposed closure have been set out on the campaign web site at

The campaigners have stressed, throughout the consultation, that Combs School was rated in September 2006 by Ofsted as “outstanding value for money”, and was unique in High Peak in providing an outstanding level of service in every category evaluated.

In their recommendation not to proceed, the Council has recognised that by closing the school, they would not – contrary to their statutory duty – be raising educational standards in the area.

Welcoming the report, parent governor Nick Boden commented: “Thankfully, common sense has prevailed, and we look forward to the Cabinet accepting the recommendation put forward by education officers.”

The Council’s recommendation also commented on the unusual arrangement whereby the same building is used for the school, as a village hall, and as a chapel.

“The School operates within a building maintained by the Village Hall Trust.” explained Chairman of the Trustees, Mike Evanson, “There’s a long history of the community providing financial support to the school, and we were very concerned that closing down the school would severely impact our ability to continue to operate the village hall on behalf of all who benefit from its use.”

The campaign opposing the proposed closure has drawn strong support, from within the community of Combs, and far beyond. All of the local parish and borough councils gave their support to the campaign to keep the school open, as did Peak District National Park Authority, Derbyshire Rural Community Council, and the Methodist Church.

The problem of surplus school places in the area will be kept under review by the Council. Chairman of the school Governors, Nye Rowlands, said: “This is undoubtedly good news, but we aren’t complacent, and know that we will have to sustain the strong community support, for this excellent school to continue to be spared the threat of closure.”


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