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Stiperstones parents angry with Philip Dunne MP

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A Shropshire MP has incurred the wrath of parents and staff at a county school threatened with the axe over comments he made claiming at some point a school may become "too small" to offer a good education.

A Shropshire MP has incurred the wrath of parents and staff at a county school threatened with the axe over comments he made claiming at some point a school may become "too small" to offer a good education.

Furious parents who are fighting to save Stiperstones C of E Primary School, near Shrewsbury, today demanded an explanation from Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, over the statement made during an interview on BBC Midlands Today.

In the interview on the regional news programme, Mr Dunne said: "There comes a point when a school becomes too small to provide the quality of education that we all want for our children."

Sue Cooke, headteacher of Stiperstones School, which has just 29 pupils, said the entire school community was shocked by Mr Dunne's comments and claimed he did not understand the important role played by rural schools.

Mr Dunne today said he stood by his comments but claimed he was not referring to Stiperstones School and vowed to back parents and staff in their fight to keep it open.

In a letter to Mr Dunne, Faye Moore, a parent and ex-pupil of the school, said she was outraged at his statement.

She said: "Stiperstones School has been judged 'good' by Ofsted and therefore contradicts your statement that the quality of education is not what we want for our children.

"As a parent of two children who attend Stiperstones School and one who is due to start at the pre-school I must state that this is the quality of education I want for my children.

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"The quality of education at Stiperstones School is absolutely outstanding and both my children are currently above average with their education. This is down to the outstanding teaching staff and teaching assistants at the school."

In another letter to the Tory MP, Alicia James, who grew up in Snailbeach and attended the school, added: "Do you truly understand the history and context of this extraordinary community focused primary school?"

Mr Dunne today said: "They seem to have misinterpreted what I said as I have made no specific reference to Stiperstones School."

The MP said he believed the school provided a good education and should not be closed.

By Russell Roberts

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