A financial package going for final approval in March may seal the fate of a number of Herefordshire’s small schools.
The package shows that funding allocations that help to keep small schools and nurseries open could be heavily slashed as the schools budget could be cut by over £1.5 million.
The schools budget loses some £500,000 through falling rolls while facing an increase in overall spending commitments of at least £1million.
This is not the first time Herefordshire’s schools have come under serious threat. Back in January 2008 Herefordshire Council made proposals to either close or merge 37 schools in the county.
Meetings and rallies were quickly called to oppose the plans and to kick-start a protest campaign. In February there was a mass rally and march in Hereford, which attracted hundreds of parents, teachers, school kids and concerned members of the public.
As a result of this huge public opposition the plans were put on hold, for ‘further consideration’ in 2011.
It would now seem that the Government’s planned public spending cuts have given the council an excuse to revisit and implement these proposals.
Our rural schools provide vital and easily reachable education for many young Herefordians. Many are also the focal points of the community, providing a space for other out-of-school-hours activities. Closing them would be a cowardly and damaging move by the Council, putting their own interests and the interests of profits before the education of our children.
The Hereford Heckler repeat’s the call it made in 2008: NO SCHOOL CLOSURES!