Anxious parents and supporters lined up to demand answers about the future of Green Oaks School in Ockford Ridge, Godalming.
Surrey County Council announced a consultation to close the school due to falling numbers, difficult Ofsteads and the inability to find an Academy to take it under its wing.
Anxious parents filled the hall to learn what the future holds for Godalming youngsters.
“Plenty of questions – but no answers!”
Said, one observer:
“I’ve been to a lot of public meetings over the years but tonight’s about the future of Green Oak school was by some distance the worst I’ve ever sat through. Shockingly poor performance by Surrey County Council and the Diocese of Guildford. Pretty much a total failure to answer any of the excellent questions from a hall packed with anxious parents, teachers and well-wishers. It was quite obvious that this was a box-ticking exercise and that as Surrey has failed to find a suitable Academy, in just in 9 months time – (July)- Green Oaks will be forced to close!
They had the brass-neck to stand up and assure parents that there were 100 places in local schools, whilst refusing to name a single one. They cited declining pupil numbers as a contributory factor, but failed to acknowledge that they themselves blocked the school from taking admissions last year.
This is looking at best like government policy designed to punish children or at worst a nasty cynical little stitch-up. Why weren’t the people who know what is going on present? It was evident, within minutes, that their robots were malfunctioning and could answer next to nothing.”
Waverley’s new Councillor Paul Follows – the school is in his ward, who was there to witness the proceedings, said:
“What we all faced was a wall. A wall of law, a wall put up by people not present at the meeting and most of all a wall of unanswered questions – which considering a similar meeting took place in Ripley last night and many people had sent questions in preparation, I found it both frustrating and utterly inexcusable.
Whatever your view on the potential closure of the school and it’s history, making the consultation real and based on transparency and facts is extremely important. I intend to assist parents in getting a meeting with the Regional Education Commissioner so we can try to get some answers.”
County Councillor Penny Rivers (Lib Dem) reported the meeting on her blog here.
She said: “It was standing room only. Parents and teachers and members of the community asked questions of the SCC officers and the Diocesan representative. I think it would be fair to say that people did not think their questions were answered. But then these Officers were just doing their job while the decision makers, Council Leader, David Hodge, and the Bishop and the Regional Schools Commissioner must have had something better to do because they were absent!”
My question was, “This room is packed full of people who care about their children, this school and this community. But, the shame is the absence of those who make the decisions. Were they invited? Would they have come?” My question was not answered.”
The meeting was packed with local Conservative Councillors – but not a single one either spoke or asked a question. Shame on them! With both Milford and Loseley Field schools full, just where will these children go?
What can you do? Start by signing this petition:
The official Surrey County Council consultation is here.