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Hall packed in bid to save Wakeman School in Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Emotions ran high as hundreds of people packed into a public meeting in a last-minute attempt to save Shrewsbury's closure-threatened Wakeman School. Emotions ran high as hundreds of people packed into a public meeting in a last-minute attempt to save Shrewsbury's closure-threatened Wakeman School. There was standing room only as more than 300 people crammed into the school hall to put their views to Schools Adjudicator Canon Richard Lindley, who has been called in to decide on whether the school should close in 2013. He had been brought in following a rare move by the Diocese of Lichfield to ask for a review of Shropshire Council's decision to close the school, using its rights as one of the consultees. Past and present pupils, parents, councillors and Shrewsbury's MP Daniel Kawczynski all took to the stand last night to beg him to save Wakeman. A decision is expected early next month.[24link]

Emotions ran high as hundreds of people packed into a public meeting in a last-minute attempt to save Shrewsbury's closure-threatened Wakeman School.

There was standing room only as more than 300 people crammed into the school hall to put their views to Schools Adjudicator Canon Richard Lindley, who has been called in to decide on whether the school should close in 2013.

He had been brought in following a rare move by the Diocese of Lichfield to ask for a review of Shropshire Council's decision to close the school, using its rights as one of the consultees.

Past and present pupils, parents, councillors and Shrewsbury's MP Daniel Kawczynski all took to the stand last night to beg him to save Wakeman.

The Reverend Paul Firmin, vicar of Shrewsbury Abbey, said closing the school would 'rip the heart' out of the community.

And head girl Siren Vivian begged the adjudicator to consider the pupils.

She said: "Don't look at the statistics look at the happiness of children."

Mr Kawczynski said it was heartening to see the support for the school.

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He told the adjudicator: "We need a school in the heart of Shrewsbury and I hope you reach a decision to accommodate the hard- working teachers and pupils of this school."

Tempers flared at one point with one speaker asked to leave after she refused to stand down while disputing council figures regarding £16.6 million it said would be lost from the education budget over the next few years due to falling pupil numbers.

There were hisses from the crowd as David Taylor, director of children's services at Shropshire Council outlined the authority's reasons for closing the school. There was some derision when he said the proposals had not been about money.

Wakeman's headteacher Karen Moore received a standing ovation as she made her closing argument, saying Wakeman had a 'sustainable and viable future'.

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Canon Richard Lindley said: "The decision I make will be totally binding in law. I will consider the proposals from scratch and decide whether to approve, object or modify the plans."

A decision is expected early next month.

By Catherine Ferris

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