MP joins school closure dispute

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 July 2015

Dr Liam Fox.

Dr Liam Fox.

Archant

North Somerset’s MP Dr Liam Fox has joined the argument over a Clevedon primary school’s decision to open one week later than others in the district.

St Nicholas Chantry Primary School in Highdale Avenue is undergoing a £1.5million expansion, which will see the number of pupils rise from 315 to 420.

Although the work is due to be completed by September 1, with other schools due back on September 2, the school has been granted extra closure days and will not begin its academic year until September 7. This will ensure the four new classrooms being built are ready but the decision has led to concerns from parents about additional childcare costs.

Dr Fox, pictured, said: “Parents have contacted me with their concerns regarding this and I am currently raising the issue with North Somerset Council.”

To try to help parents with any extra childcare costs the school has offered to put on clubs for the closure days but Peter Treasure-Smith, headteacher, says this has not attracted much interest from parents.

He said: “Personally I have had no concerns expressed to me.

“The only comments that I have had were thanks from parents who are choosing to take a few extra days away with lower-priced holidays.

“We asked if North Somerset Council had any objections to us having two extra closure days to get the classrooms ready as this is often done in these circumstances and is something I have done before, though not at this school. North Somerset was agreeable to this.

“We recognised there might be childcare issues for parents so we arranged for our after-school club and one of our sports coaching providers to open on September 2, 3 and 4 and offered to support families financially for children to attend from our own fundraising. To date, there have been hardly any takers for either of the childcare offers.”

As well as the new classrooms the expansion, which started in February, will also see additional toilet facilities and new group rooms built.


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