At a packed public meeting at Glenburn Sports College over 200 parents, pupils, residents and MP Rosie Cooper united to fight for the future of Glenburn Sports College. The message is that Lancashire County Council will face a fight every step of the way with parents, pupils and residents committed to ensuring Glenburn Sports College has a future.
There was considerable anger expressed during the meeting, which had been organised by parents to kickstart their campaign to oppose the possibility of the school’s closure. Earlier on Thursday, County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools took the decision to go ahead with the consultation on the possible closure. A process that will begin on 3 November lasting six weeks until 14 December. An information booklet will be available explaining how parents can have their say.
Issues raised during the meeting included concerns about the lack of educational choice in Skelmersdale, the distances children would have to travel across the town and the cost to families of travel. Ultimately, parents questioned how this could be in the children’s best interests and how this is the right decision for education provision in Skelmersdale.
Following the meeting MP Rosie Cooper said:
“I am standing shoulder to shoulder with the parents and pupils in the fight for the future of Glenburn Sports College.
“The first step parents can take in standing up for Glenburn is to keep the school as the first choice for their child. Even if parents have already submitted a change I would strongly urge them it’s not too late to change back to Glenburn Sports College being your number one option for your child.
“Parents can also join the fight by signing the petition, helping get others in their area involved and by having their say during the consultation. We need to make Lancashire County Council listen, which they have failed to do so far.
“I am truly appalled by the manner in which Lancashire County Council has managed this entire process and announcing the proposal. It is an absolute disgrace.
“To announce this proposal to consult on possible closure of a school when parents are choosing their child’s school options smacks of an effort to destabilise the school.
“For me Lancashire County Council have failed to show any support to help the school improve its attainment and its financial position. Support they have given to other schools in similar situations so why not Glenburn school.
“This proposal feels as if it is the quick, easy and cheap option. It is scandalous that Lancashire County Council education bosses are prepared to gamble with the futures of Skelmersdale children all because it makes life easier for them. That for me is simply unacceptable.
“I’ve invited county councillor Matthew Tomlinson, as the responsible cabinet member for schools to come and meet with parents to explain his decision and listen to them. If this is a genuine consultation and if he actually cares about the futures of these school children then he will come to Skelmersdale during the consultation. He needs to come and understand the potential consequences if he decides to close Glenburn Sports College and he can’t do that sat behind his desk in Preston.
“He needs to hear the same stories told at the meeting about how the school nurtures each individual pupil. The caring, emotional and pastoral support that creates a positive environment for the school’s pupils.
“I also believe Lancashire County Council need to urgently review their consultation proposals as it is farcical at present.
“Lancashire County Council have got a fight on their hands over the future of Glenburn Sports College.”
Parent Council member, Angela Roberts said:
“In just a matter of days since the news of the consultation on the possible closure of Glenburn school there has been an overwhelming reaction from the community who want to fight to save the school.
“It was even more evident looking at the parents, pupils and residents who’d turned up in large numbers angry and wanting to get involved in protecting their school. We understand that the school faces certain challenges. We are not blind to them but nor do they tell the whole story of the fantastic work that is taking place at Glenburn Sports College in educating our children but also supporting them as individuals to develop.
“In the coming weeks we will be working tirelessly as we fight to have our voices as parents heard and to make Lancashire County Council realise that instead of trying to undermine and weaken Glenburn school they should be supporting the school, the pupils and the staff.
“I would encourage any parent or resident to get involved and help to fight for Glenburn Sports College.
“We have contacted Mr Tomlinson numerous times already via phone, email and otherwise to invite him down to a public meeting with the parents but as yet he has not even acknowledged receipt of our communication, which is disappointing.”
Those wishing to support the campaign can do so by signing the petition. The ‘Unite to Save Glenburn’ petition states:
“We the undersigned support the retention of Glenburn Sports College and wish to keep our local school. We deplore the high-handed way LCC decided to consult on the possible closure of Glenburn. We call on Lancashire County Council to have a genuine consultation that truly listens to the pupils and parents, and explains their actions and decision-making process. We call on Lancashire County Council to give time and support to Glenburn Sports College to enable the school to improve its performance and financial position.”