Twenty-three children could make the difference between saving Fletching Primary School or its closure, parents have been told.
Now they are going all out to find those children and are convinced they can keep the school open beyond the threatened closure date of August 31, 2020.
They plan to deliver leaflets in surrounding villages and towns, meet people on the streets, and continue to gather signatures on an online and paper petitions.
‘Gem of a school’
Their aim is to make people aware of this “gem of a school” which helps children of all abilities thrive precisely because it is small and is able to treat all as individuals.
They understand some parents would consider it a risk joining the school at this stage but parent governor Richard Hannay said they were very confident they would be able to make sufficient progress on the numbers, together with a clear plan of how to sustain them, to satisfy the council.
They also had a clear plan of how to deal with budgetary issues over the next couple of years.
“If we can get 23 children to start in September – taking numbers to 90 – there is unlikely to be any question about whether we can stay open.
“More realistically, if we can get those 23 children over the next couple of years, and there is a clear plan for doing so, then we will undoubtedly stay open.”
Sarah Bailey-Williams chose Fletching for her daughter Maddie who turned four in the August before she started school in September.
Her family lives on Rocks Park Estate in Uckfield while her older children had attended Rocks Park Primary School she felt Maddie needed something different and set out to look at all the primary schools in the area.
Sarah said: “Fletching Primary School hadn’t even been on my radar before this but it is perfect for Maddie and only an eight minute drive from home.
“All the children know each other. If a reception class child falls over in the playground and a year six child is running past they will stop, help pick them up, make sure they are all right and run off again.”
Sarah said the children knew the other parents too and families were very supportive of each other. “It takes more than two parents to raise children and there is plenty of help at this school,” she added.
She couldn’t understand why, with all the new houses being built in the area, at Maresfield, Ridgewood, and Newick, the county council could consider closing Fletching Primary School
“It doesn’t make sense to me at all. The children from those houses have got to go somewhere. The council can’t be looking at the bigger picture. Why are they shooting down a school with a good Ofsted report.”
The county council says Fletching Primary School has been undersubscribed for the last five years and for admission purposes they plan to merge the Fletching community area with St Peter’s Chailey CE Primary School community area.
The council is consulting about its proposals and says it will consider all views put forward during the consultation period, which ends on October 11, 2019, before a decision is taken.
The council says: “We are consulting with pupils, parents and carers, staff, the governing board, other local schools and trade unions.
“We are also consulting with a wide range of other groups and organisations including early years providers, the district and parish councils, the local MP, the Church of England and Catholic dioceses and the wider community.”
Read more about the consultation on the county council website here.
Read more about the fight to save Fletching school here.