Letter to the Suffolk Free Press - Cuts Force Local School Closures

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This is Alfie with his little brother and Grandad, Les. Alfie is the last pupil to attend Monks Eleigh, the same school his Grandad attended.

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Sir

 

I applaud the efforts your paper has taken in keeping the sorry tale of Monks Eleigh School in the headlines.

 

Last week members of the ‘saveMEschool’ campaign group encouraged local people to respond to the ‘consultation’ into the possible closure of the school. Local people whose connections with the school matter so little to Suffolk County Council that they had not even been provided with a copy of the consultation document. It follows then that those in the village who walk past the closed school every day were right to be cynical about this consultation.

 

The school is effectively closed because of a catalogue of errors - failures of leadership and effective support by the Local Education Authority. Closed because of cuts and a new ‘per pupil’ funding formula that is the kiss of death for small schools like Monks Eleigh.

 

There has been no consideration or proper assessment about the much wider social, demographic, environmental and economic impact of this closure on the village of Monks Eleigh. Some people feel deserted by their elected representatives and the Church. Some have asked why more affordable housing has not been built over the years to allow generations of families to stay close. Why the County Council works separately from the District Council when their combined decisions (schools, transport, planning & development etc) are making Monks Eleigh ‘older’ and isolated. Decisions that leave the less well-off struggling more to access services in rural areas. Decisions starving Monks Eleigh and villages like it of their future.

 

Stoke Ash, Monks Eleigh. I wonder which small school will be next?

 

Jane Basham

Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate

South Suffolk

1 High Street

Hadleigh

Suffolk IP7 5AH

 

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